February 6, 2013
Sheriff responds to public request for a local response to gun control debate
Batavia, Ohio. On account of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary and the subsequent controversy surrounding gun control, the Sheriff’s Office has received numerous inquiries requesting a local statement regarding the national situation. The public has asked for my opinion regarding the gun control debate and what my Deputies or I would do if gun control legislation is enacted. Noting that this is a complex legal issue that does not contain a simple explanation, I would like to provide the following statement with the hope that it will fulfill the public’s petition for a local response.
As Sheriff, I am legally required to enforce duly enacted laws of Ohio and the United States and to support the Constitutions of both the United States and the state of Ohio. Federal laws enacted by Congress addressing gun control, or any other matters, fall primarily under the enforcement responsibility and authority of a Federal law enforcement agency (e.g. FBI, ATF, Secret Service, DEA). Depending upon the precise scope and language of the law, local law enforcement agencies and their officers may or may not be tasked with any enforcement authority or responsibilities.
The following is a section of the legal opinion distributed to all Ohio Sheriffs from the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association (BSSA). The BSSA is a legal counsel concerning the authority and duties of Ohio Sheriffs, “A Sheriff is sworn to enforce the laws of Ohio AND THE UNITED STATES. It is not within the authority of the Sheriff to interpret the law or to decide the constitutionality of the law. This is a function of the Courts. Enacted laws are presumed to be constitutional until such time as a Court with proper jurisdiction rules otherwise.”
I am a long time member of both the NRA and a local gun club. I have always been a strong advocate and supporter of concealed carry and the possession of firearms by law abiding citizens. When Ohio passed concealed carry legislation in 2004, I applauded this initiative and our Office implemented a user-friendly, no-hassle procedure for processing concealed carry applications. That first year our Office led the entire State with the most concealed carry permits issued. Thereafter, our Office has remained in the top 10% of all 88 counties in Ohio for the number of concealed carry applications processed and we have received several positive comments from applicants and firearm advocacy groups.
The national debate of gun control is far from over and will likely take many twists and turns before legislative action is finally enacted. After that process, the courts will likely be called on to have the final decision. At this particular point in time, predictions and possible ramifications of such laws are speculative and premature. The Sherriff’s Office is waiting to release an official statement until gun control legislation materializes and has been reviewed by the courts.
Content Provided By: Clermont County Sheriff Rodenburg
For additional information about this or other county news, contact Clermont County Communications Director, Annette Meagher at (513) 732-7557 or by e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org