JoCo Sheriff: I won't support new gun control legislation

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. - The Johnson County Sheriff is sounding off against President Barack Obama's new gun control proposals.

Sheriff Frank Denning released a statement Friday in which he made an impassioned defense of the Second Amendment and criticized "purely symbolic" action in the wake of tragedy.

Read Sheriff Denning's full statement |

In the statement, Denning touches on the mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut, but says he sees nothing in the proposed measures that could prevent similar incidents in the future.

"We seem to be caught up in a tidal wave of mindless emotion that demands, 'Do SOMETHING! Even if we know it is ineffective, meaningless and purely symbolic!'" he said in the statement.

"Logic dictates to us that armed individuals; whether armed private individuals or hired security personnel, are the answer to prevent future tragedies in those places that we have inadvertently made free-fire zones with the totally useless 'No Guns Allowed' signs," he continued.

RELATED | Sheriffs, state lawmakers push back on gun control

Obama released details of his $500 million gun violence package Wednesday. Among the proposals: banning military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.  

According to a recent poll, nearly six in 10 Americans want stricter gun laws in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But in the same poll, 51 percent of respondents said they believed laws limiting gun ownership infringe on their Second Amendment rights.

RELATED | Poll: Most favor stricter U.S. gun laws

And a handful of law enforcement officials everywhere from Oregon to Mississippi have vowed to ignore all of the proposed restrictions -- some even saying they'll try to stop federal officials from enforcing them in their jurisdictions.

While Denning didn't outright say he would ignore the proposals if they become law, he was clear he does not support them.

"The militia mentioned in the Second Amendment pertains to all able-bodied citizens capable of bearing arms. That is US! 'to Keep and Bear arms' means, 'to OWN and CARRY arms,'" he said in Friday's statement. "As Sheriff, I will never support, nor advocate for, ANY legislation at ANY level (local, state or federal) that would restrict the legal possession or ownership of any type of firearm (or high-capacity magazine) by lawful, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens of Johnson County, Kansas and of the United States of America."

Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp declined to comment on the gun control proposals earlier this week, saying the Missouri Sheriffs' Association is in the process of drafting a united response.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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