Sheriff Ben Wolfinger On Gun Legislation: 'I Support The Second Amendment'
by Dylan Wohlenhaus, KHQ Local News Reporter - email
KOOTENAI COUNTY, Idaho - Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger released a statement this week regarding
gun control talks in our nations capital. Wolfinger has served in the Kootenai
County Sheriffs department for nearly 30 years. He was newly elected Sheriff
this past November. KHQ has posted Wolfinger's statement un edited and in its
entirety for you to read below.
First and foremost, I believe in the oath that I took and I will
abide by that oath to "support the Constitution of the United States and the
Constitution of the State of Idaho…"
Second, in response to the
proposals listed by the President: Personally, I oppose many of them and will
watch and see if the courts rule on the constitutionality of them. However, some
of the proposals I don't disagree with. I believe in background checks and
keeping firearms out of the hands of people who suffer from serious mental
illness. I think that most people agree that we want firearms in the hands of
the right people, but not in the hands of the wrong people.
We do not want the
Joseph Duncans of the world, (convicted felons) being able to buy guns, nor do
we want people with serious mental illnesses to buy them either. Of course, like
most proposals, the devil is in the details. The definitions, tracking
mechanisms and due process (4th and 14th amendment)
rights are just a beginning of those details.
Third, I personally believe that
recent tragedies emphasize that the issue is not really about guns, but is about
the people who commit crimes. Did you read where a man in China stabbed 20
students the same week as the tragedy in Connecticut? No one is asking for a ban
on kitchen knives.
In 1995 Timothy McVeigh blew up the Federal Building in
Oklahoma City, killing 168 Americans including 19 children, but no one wanted to
outlaw Ryder Trucks, fertilizer or diesel fuel. Joseph Duncan used a hammer, but
we don't control hand tools. The issue is not about the weapon in the hands of
an assailant, the issue must focus on the assailant themselves.
I believe that there is a danger
in making knee-jerk reactions on very serious and complex issues such as is
before the nation at this time. This is why it is important to investigate the
issues and educate ourselves so we can speak not only from our hearts, but from
our heads as well.
I believe that at this time, we
need to inform our Congressional Delegation with facts and our opinions so they
will be well equipped to fight the looming battle before them as these proposals
become bills they must address. As your Sheriff, I will continue to follow my
oath and perform all of my duties according to the best of my
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