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Sheriffs and Gun Control

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email

Some West Virginia Sheriffs oppose the president's gun control legislation and here in Wood County, our newly elected sheriff weighs in.

"He's not going through the route he should be taking if he wants to do away with it," says Sheriff Ken Merritt. "The constitution is being violated and this is something we can't handle."

As a law enforcement officer, a grandfather, father and someone who taught gun safety, Merritt doesn't feel right about the president's proposal.

"This is the way that the communist nation started, capitalist," Merritt says. "We just need to make a stand now that in law enforcement I feel that by me it's not going to be enforced."

Sandy Hook and other recent tragedies may have pushed stronger gun laws forward, but it's nothing new.

"Anti gun groups kind of take advantage of situations like that to try to push their message across," says Chief Deputy Shawn Graham. "I don't believe it's a gun issue; I believe it's a mental health issue and an issue that society's dealing with."

Gun proponents don't agree that the Commander in Chief is taking a stand against firearms.

"I think it's an overreaction by the Obama administration," Graham says. "Law enforcement in general has no interest in enforcing unconstitutional laws."

It's left a nation divided on who's entitled to gun ownership.

"Americans have the right to bear arms, unless they've done something to have those rights taken away," Graham says. "You have a right to protect yourself, protect your property, protect your family."

Officials say an unstable person will carry out violence, whether it's a gun or a pencil.

"We're the ones committing the crime, it's not the guns," Merritt says. "It doesn't make a difference if I have a gun or not... I'd find some way to do it, whether it was a gun or a knife or whatever."


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