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 January 2013

SHERIFF'S MONTHLY NEWSLETTER

JANUARY 2013


After the terrible massacre of 20 innocent young children and 6 teachers at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, many different people from President Obama to news organizations throughout the United States are calling for some type of gun regulation. This is just one in a series of shootings this year which include a shooting at a mall in Portland by a masked gunman, a white supremacist killing six Sikhs at a temple in Oak Creek, Wis. The killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 people at a theater in Aurora, Colorado, and the killing of 7 people at a college in Oakland, California. There is no need to mention all of the other senseless shootings in the past few years.

I am a strong supporter of a person’s right to keep and bear arms; however it is time to institute some stiffer laws concerning assault type weapons and semi-automatic handguns with extended load magazines. These type weapons have one, and only one, purpose and that is to kill people and sometimes many people. A person can very easily defend themselves or their loved ones with a gun that holds fewer rounds. Today guns, be they assault type rifles or semiautomatic handguns, hold up to 100 rounds of ammunition. Even a novice shooter could empty a 100 round magazine in less than a minute. In my opinion these weapons are nothing more than weapons of mass destruction. I believe that it is time to pass another Federal Assault Weapons ban such as the one that expired in 2004. Limit the number of rounds a weapon can hold without reloading and at least make a mass murderer have to drop a magazine and put another one into his weapon. That one act alone may save untold lives and misery being caused today.   

I often wonder why a person feels the need to carry such weapons and other than the ones who have mental problems, I feel that a person with these type weapons needs to feel important and in charge and these guns make them feel that way. There may be a great deal of insecurity felt by these people and they feel more secure with them.  That is not to say that every person feels like this. Most citizens are God fearing, law abiding folks who just simply like guns and would never commit such heinous crimes but even these people have to know that these weapons in the wrong hands are just dangerous and it has to stop.

If you're fed up with these senseless mass murders, contact your Representative or Senator and tell them how you feel. Tell them not to be influenced by the NRA lobbyist and their money. Tell them to do the right thing and support some type of legislation to curb or slow down these massacres.  There need to be strong Federal laws with stiff prison time for people who feel the need to violate the law.  I know that my position concerning assault type weapons will make some people mad but I do not apologize. I am tired of the killing and something needs to be done!

 

Al.com recently printed an article on pending gun legislation in the Alabama House of Representatives. This bill would remove discretion from Sheriffs in issuing pistol permits by changing the wording from “may issue” to “shall issue’. This bill would require Sheriffs to issue a permit if a person passes a background check, no matter what the Sheriff may know about this person such as having mental problems, being a drunkard or drug addict or pending investigations against this person. This is a dangerous bill and would authorize people with serious problems to carry a concealed weapon. Contrary to popular opinion, a person with a mental disability may very easily go undetected on a background check. In Alabama and many other states, there is typically no mechanism for entering a person with mental problems into N.C.I.C. (the national crime reporting computer).   A person may not have a conviction that would show up in a background check simply because he or she has not been convicted or has been able to evade arrest even though law enforcement has responded to several calls involving this person. A person’s family or friends may ask the Sheriff not to issue a permit because he or she has mental problems or has anti-social issues. Under this legislation a permit would have to be issued.

In the past several years the State of Alabama has dedicated less and less to helping people with mental health issues. The county jails have become the new mental health facilities when these people commit crime.  If they are not convicted of a crime, they would be able to get a permit. Most of the mass murders are committed by people with mental problems.

Another part of this bill makes pistol permits valid for five years instead of one and allows an issued pistol permit to be used as a background check when a gun is purchased. This is another bad idea. Five years is a long time and people change in that amount of time. They get arrested and sometimes develop issues that should not allow them to carry a concealed weapon. They are basically on their honor to report these to the Sheriff and very few will do so. What, if any, authority will the Sheriff have to revoke a license?

This NRA backed piece of legislation is a very bad idea for all citizens in Alabama. I know that some folks don’t like the idea of a Sheriff, or anybody else, having to make the final decision on issuing a permit but it has to be done to best serve everybody. A Sheriff is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they are in the best position to know the people applying for a concealed carry pistol permit.  Contact your state Representative or State Senator and ask them to vote against this bill if it comes before them.