In stark contradiction to President Obama’s response yesterday to the shooting that took place on the Umpqua Community College campus, Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin insists his position on gun control has not changed.
In an interview this morning on CNN’s “New Day,” Hanlin said gun control has “got to be part of the discussion” but insisted it was inappropriate for him to air his opinions the day after the shooting.
But under continued questioning, Hanlin finally said, “My position on it has not changed.” confirming he will continue to stand firm in his support of Second Amendment rights.
Just this April, he was one of the law enforcement officers to speak out against Senate Bill 941, arguing that the law, which extended gun background checks to all gun transfers in the state, would be impossible to enforce.
“This law is not going to protect citizens of Oregon in that it is going to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” Hamlin told legislators. “It will not do that.”
He also boldly sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden in 2013, after the shooting at Sandy Hook. “Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings,” Hanlin wrote in his letter to the VP. “Any actions against, or in disregard for our U.S. Constitution and 2nd Amendment rights by the current administration would be irresponsible and an indisputable insult to the American people.”
The letter earned Hanlin praise from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), a group whose members swear an oath to “uphold and defend” the Constitution.
Additionally, the Sheriff said he and his deputies would refuse to enforce any gun-control restrictions which would “offend the constitutional rights of my citizens,” and the rural community he serves largely appreciates his commitment to protect gun rights.
Casey Runyan, a disabled Marine Corps veteran, is one of those citizens and carries a Glock 29 pistol everywhere he goes. “I carry to protect myself — the exact same reason this happened,” said Runyan, referring to the shooting on the UCC campus. Later adding, “All my friends agree with me. That’s the only kind of friends I have.”
Retired U.S. Army nurse Donice “Maggie Rose” Smith, who also hosts a talk show on Internet radio, said she and her husband, a retired Army captain, specifically chose Douglas County for their retirement because of a low crime rate and strong local support for First and Second Amendment rights.
J.C. Smith said barring people from carrying guns on campus made it particularly vulnerable to a “lone wolf” attack.
“With current world events, (armed people) would keep the ground safer,” he said.
Umpqua Community College has a policy of no guns on campus and although a security guard was on duty at the time of the shooting, interim President Rita Cavin confirmed that security guards for the school are not armed.
“This is an anomaly and a tragedy,” she said of the shooting.