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In defense of our Second Amendment rights
Sheriff Hensley sends a letter stating he will not enforce any new gun laws that violate the Constitution
January 17, 2013
Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley took a bold step in support of the Second Amendment this past week.
As firearm ban proposals and other gun control legislation emerge, he sent a letter to Vice-President Joe Biden stating he will not enforce any new gun laws if they violate the Constitutional right to bear arms.
“I took an oath to uphold the Constitution,” Hensley said. “I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment.”
President Obama recently announced proposed legislation that includes a ban on military-style assault weapons and a limit of 10 rounds per ammunition magazine. The laws were prompted by the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December that claimed the lives of 28 people, including 20 young children.
On Monday, Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller mailed a letter to Biden that said “politicians are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by advocating for laws that would prevent honest, law-abiding Americans from possessing certain firearms and ammunition magazines.”
He therefore concluded that “any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of citizens” will not be enforced by him or his deputies.”
Hensley came across a copy of the letter, and felt it represented his views perfectly.
“I saw it and I thought, ‘Man, I couldn’t have said it any better.’”
He later contacted Mueller who said Hensley was welcome to use the same letter and put his name to it. He was happy to oblige.
Mueller and Hensley are not the only Oregon sheriffs to write a letter to Biden. As of press deadline, Curry County Sheriff John Bishop had submitted the Mueller letter. In addition, Douglas County Sheriff John Hamlin wrote his own original letter to Biden.
Like Mueller, Hamlin said the purpose of his letter was to “make notification that any federal regulations enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies. . .”
Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers did not write a letter to Biden, but he did pen a letter to his constituents expressing his support of Second Amendment rights as well as Oregon’s concealed handgun license program. Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni wrote a similar letter to his constituents.
The letters have garnered considerable media attention with multiple outlets throughout Oregon reporting on them. Mueller’s letter even made national news, receiving coverage from Fox News on Tuesday. The TV news station reported on their website that state officials in Texas and Mississippi have also vowed to fight back against unconstitutional gun control laws.
Hensley agrees with lawmakers that something needs to change to prevent events like the Sandy Hook shooting from happening again.
“That is such a tragedy,” he said. “I cannot believe what a tragedy that was.”
However, he doesn’t think that stricter gun control laws will rid America of shootings in public venues. He instead believes it will penalize the millions of responsible gun owners who follow the laws.
“We need to address the root of it,” he said. “It’s not just guns. A gun is just a tool.”
For Hensley, identifying the root of the problem is not so easy. He said that if he had the magical answer, he would be back in Washington D.C. telling people what they need to do. Nevertheless, he does see some societal trends that he feels contribute to the problem.
“If you look at some of these (video) games that these kids play now, they are so violent.”
Hensley also believes people should take better steps to secure guns and keep them away from people who might use them for illegal purposes.
“Responsible gun owners need to make sure that happens,” he said.
Although Hensley refuses to enforce any federal gun control laws that infringe on Second Amendment rights, there is one instance where he would concede. If any gun control laws are passed as the result of a constitutional amendment, he will uphold them.
“If that is what the Constitution says, that is what we have to follow,” he said.