Cumberland Times-News

Latest news

January 31, 2013

Some West Virginia sheriffs oppose proposed gun control

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A handful of West Virginia sheriffs have publicly declared they won’t enforce any new federal laws that they believe violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms, though the organization that represents all 55 has yet to take a stand in the growing debate over curtailing gun violence.

Media outlets report that Boone County Sheriff Randall White sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama, while Roane County Sheriff Mike Harper and Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt signed a petition created by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association to become a “line in the sand” against the federal government.

“The county sheriff is the one who can say to the feds, ‘Beyond these bounds you shall not pass,’” that group said. “This is not only within the scope of the sheriff’s authority; it’s the sheriff’s sworn duty.”

No legislation currently before Congress suggests all all-out ban on guns, but one bill would ban certain models of semiautomatic rifles and handguns, as well as large-volume ammunition clips.

Raleigh County Sheriff Steve Tanner said he won’t enforce any gun laws that Congress may pass because he is charged with defending the entire U.S. Constitution.

“Everybody, and I mean everybody, has an inherent right to be able to defend themselves,” he said. “That is beyond written law. That’s the law of nature.”

Tanner believes only “five or six really loud morons” in Congress support outlawing certain weapons, but if such a bill does pass, “it will not be enforced on a local level.”

Guns are inanimate tools, Tanner said, just like knives, pencils and spoons.

“It’s not the pencil’s fault we misspell words. It’s not the spoon’s fault we have fat people. It’s not the gun’s fault people are shooting each other,” he said. “Blaming the gun is ridiculous. I don’t hear anybody blaming cars for drunken drivers.”

But Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford, who oversees the state’s largest county, said he won’t weigh in on specific legislation.

“We’re going to enforce the laws, whatever the laws are,” he said. “I’m not going to get into the politics of it. Our job is to enforce the laws and make our community safe.”

Rudi Raynes-Kidder, executive director of the West Virginia Sheriffs Association, said members can express their personal views, but the organization has no formal stance on any current proposal. Next month, it will discuss whether to adopt one.

Meanwhile, she’s researching what might happen if sheriffs were to defy federal laws.

White, in Boone County, supports background checks and tougher prison sentences for people convicted of gun crimes. But in his letter to the White House, he said he won’t support or enforce “any alterations to the Constitution of the United States or any of its amendments, specifically the right to bear arms.”

Hardy County Sheriff Bryan Ward also said he won’t enforce “any unconstitutional law.”

Ward, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, blames moral decay for mass shootings like the one that killed 20 children and six adults in Sandy Hook, Conn., last month.

 

1
Text Only
Latest news
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years