ALBANY, Ore. — Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller never expected his letter would stir up such a response. He says it started as a simple statement to citizens on his stance on gun control, then he decided to turn his local letter into a national address to the vice president.
“Well, I decided that since Vice President Joe Biden is the chair of that committee, I figured since I had such definite professional and personal opinions on this, I’d put those to paper and sent that off to him,” Mueller said.
Mueller never expected the vice president or anyone outside of Linn County would ever read his remarks, but three weeks later Facebook changed everything.
“It appears that I have a lot of reading to do, because there’s a lot of comments on there,” Mueller said.
At last check, the letter had right at 45,000 ‘shares’ and nearly 40,000 ‘likes’ and counting.
Sheriff Mueller says the majority have been overwhelmingly supportive–a humbling feeling, but he says the shares, likes, and unlikes aren’t why he did it. He says he did it for the constitutional rights of the citizens of Linn County.
“I just want the vice president to know that we can let crimes, no matter how heinous they are, of very few people, dictate federal regulations and laws that infringe upon the constitutional rights of honest Americans,” Mueller said.
Mueller’s letter bluntly states he will not enforce any gun control laws that offend the constitutional rights of his citizens.
Mueller says it’s not that he’s ignoring the terrible tragedies that spawned these discussions, he just doesn’t think getting rid of guns is the solution.
“You could ban everything, from that muzzle loader I have up there to the most scary looking high power rifle out there, and it’s not going to fix anything because the people that want to do this and commit these types of crimes, they’re going to do it, and they’re going to find a way to make it happen,” Mueller said.
So if Mueller says taking away the guns won’t help, what does he think will? He thinks a good start is tighter background checks and mental health checks for gun buyers, more serious consequences for those who commit any violent crime with a gun. But even like those changes won’t solve everything, Mueller says banning guns won’t either.
“We’ve had some real tragedies and we’ve lost some innocent people, and I can understand people want to prevent that, but what I hate to see happen is an ill-informed knee-jerk reaction that affects a lot of honest people,” Mueller said.