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Douglas County Sheriff opposes proposed gun restrictions

Sheriff John Hanlin says he understands the concerns about gun violence having experienced the UCC shooting, but says Initiative Petition 43 threatens the Second Amendment.

Posted: May 4, 2018 7:27 PM
Updated: May 4, 2018 7:46 PM

ROSEBURG, Ore. – Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin is opposing a proposed statewide ballot measure that would ban some assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

Hanlin said he fully supports the Second Amendment and believes Initiative Petition 43 would threaten Oregonians’ constitutional rights.

RELATED: Community members hold meeting opposing assault weapon ban

He said having experienced the Umpqua Community College shooting, he understands the concerns people have about mass shootings and school violence.

However, Hanlin said the proposed gun restrictions would not have changed the tragic outcome of the UCC shooting that left nine people dead in October 2015.

He said officials need to enforce Oregon’s existing gun control laws and focus more on mental health.

Read Hanlin’s full statement opposing Initiative Petition 43 below:

As the Sheriff of Douglas County I am asked regularly about my position on the Second Amendment. Recently those questions have been directed towards my opinion of Initiative Petition 43. There is a growing number of Oregon Sheriffs whom are voicing their concerns about IP43, which if passed, would ban certain “assault weapons” as well as high capacity magazines. Many Oregon Sheriffs, including myself, and Sheriffs all across this country are sharing their stance on our Second Amendment rights as they continue to be subject of attack.

As your Sheriff, I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon. In addition, I swore to perform the duties of Douglas County Sheriff to the best of my ability. Without hesitation, I fully support and defend the Second Amendment and I oppose IP 43. IP43 is a significant threat to one of our most fundamental Constitutional rights and would force legal gun owners to surrender or register certain firearms, or face felony charges.

I serve the 108,000 citizens of this remarkable county. The safety of all the citizens and visitors of this county is a tremendous responsibility that I take seriously. Our office has issued over 15,000 concealed handgun licenses and I firmly believe that every responsible and accountable law abiding citizen who wishes to legally own a firearm should do so. Firearms have their lawful place in society and are an important tool in personal protection and ensuring public safety in our county.

Having experienced the Umpqua Community College shooting tragedy in 2015, I, as well as anyone, understand the concerns of mass shootings and school violence across the country and the role law enforcement plays. That being said, the restrictions on firearms proposed by IP 43 would not have changed the heartbreaking outcome and loss of lives at UCC.

Oregon has a number of laws on the books regarding background checks and age restrictions pertaining to the purchase of a firearm. These laws prohibit the sale of firearms to convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving violence, those adjudicated as mentally ill, those who have been committed as the result of a Mental Commitment Hearing, those with an active felony warrant, active out of state misdemeanor warrant and those on pretrial release for a felony. Emphasis needs to be placed on enforcing these existing violations of law, as well as focusing on improving a system that adequately identifies and intervenes with our growing mentally ill populations. Gun-control alone will not solve the problem of guns and extreme violence.

This office takes all threats seriously and we appropriately vet them in partnership with our DA’s Office, mental health professionals, other law enforcement agencies, our schools, and others in the public safety sector. We immediately respond to investigate threats of violence or danger, and hold people accountable. We are committed to serving mankind; to safeguard lives and property; to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder; and to respect the Constitutional rights of all.

As always, our priority is in keeping our children safe, our vulnerable population safe and our community safe. Deputies of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office will always respond to assist and protect the citizens we serve, but your right and ability to be effectively prepared to protect you and your family until we arrive is not only essential, but a God-given right and liberty that this great country provides to its free people.


John W. Hanlin
Douglas County Sheriff

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