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The Lake News Online
  • Local law officials weigh in on gun proposals

  • As the controversy over proposed gun control continues, sales of weapons are skyrocketing and every coffee shop across the country is buzzing with opinions.
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  • As the controversy over proposed gun control continues, sales of weapons are skyrocketing and every coffee shop across the country is buzzing with opinions.
    The debate, in the opinion of a political science teacher at Columbia College, is being blown out of proportion. Professor Marvin Schulteis said it is his belief that "the government isn't going to come collect anybody's guns under any circumstances."
    Schulteis said that no amendment is absolute, all have limits. On the issue of gun ownership, he said "in the last 4 years, the Supreme Court has, on two different occasions, affirmed that the second amendment applies to an individuals right to own firearms."
    Gun control is a band-aid solution to what he believes is a cultural problem in the United States.
    "People believe they have a right to take any type of weapon and kill anyone on impulse," he said.
    Schulteis said the gun control issue has brought the issue of tighter background checks to the forefront of the discussions. In his opinion, that's a good move and one that should have been done a long time ago. More stringent background checks will give the government the right to deny some the right to purchase weapons.
    While Schulteis predicts the debate will continue for quite some time and he goes one step farther predicting President Obama will be not successful in getting his gun control proposals approved, some lake area law enforcement officials are also taking a position. They say it is too soon to threaten to defy a ruling that hasn't been approved.
    Camden County Sheriff Dwight Franklin describes himself as a "pro-gun guy" and said that he is not going to violate any civil rights or constitution, but thinks it is too early to really know what will happen with gun control in the future.
    "We will wait and see what happens," Franklin said. He also added that the office of the President is an office that is to be honored. Whether or not Camden County agrees with the President and Congress's decision, they plan on honoring it.
    William Abbott, Miller County Sheriff, seems to agree with Franklin.
    "We have laws we have to go by, do we like all of them? No," Abbott said.
    He too plans on giving this issue some time before jumping to conclusions. "I will wait this out," he said.
    Morgan County Sheriff Jim Petty said he would have to see the specific regulations before he made any comment about enforcement.
    The longtime local law enforcement chief said he would not violate the second amendment but that there should be some control.
    "You can't sell bazookas or fully automatic weapons so there already is some control. I believe in the right to bear arms, but it is limited," he said. "If they're going to limit the capacity of a magazine, I can live with that. It's not actually violating the second amendment."
    Page 2 of 2 - In an age when many people hunt deer with a semi-automatic rifle and most handguns are semi-automatic, Petty said he could not see regulations taking citizens back to a simple six shooter.
    He doesn't see the issue becoming a matter of constitutional infringement.
    "They're not going to take away all guns. It's just not going to happen," he said.
    The bigger issue in Petty's mind, however, is not gun control at all but mental health - and state and federal funding of mental health related issues.
    "Everybody's excited about guns, but if you at the things that have happened, it's more of a mental problem than about gun control," he said. "Over the years — decades — when the legislature cuts funding, it's been beds at a mental hospital or items like that. Where they really need to concentrate — the bigger issue — is the mental attitude."
    Petty said he would like to see state and federal officials consider ways to get people help and prevent these problems.
     
     
     

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