With the increase in focus on gun control, the Indiana Sheriff’s Association recently issued a statement regarding the controversial topic. The statement explained that while the debate over guns and gun control stirs strong feelings throughout the country, Indiana’s sheriffs have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and remain focused on solutions while not accepting any concept that would separate law-abiding citizens from their second amendment rights without due process.
However, the organization recognizes that no attempt to prevent the violence that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, will be complete unless the country finds a way to address the culture of violence that negatively impacts today’s youth.
To that effect, Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen said he does believe something needs to be done in terms of gun control.
“Certainly, I understand the concern of the citizens of being disarmed from their weapons. Honestly, I don’t believe that’s going to happen. I do believe they need to look into doing maybe better background checks or taking some kind of control on who actually has weapons,” said Cowen.
He added that gun registration needs to be looked at further.
“Once you buy a weapon and it’s registered and you sell it to another individual, that weapon is registered in your name; we never re-register them, and I think that’s something that Indiana should look into again,” Cowen explained.
The county has seen an increase in gun permit applications. Cowen noted that the sheriff’s department conducts a local background check when a gun permit application is received and when it is sent to the state, those officials look deeper into a person’s background in order to be approved.
Pulaski County Sheriff Mike Gayer said it’s not the gun that’s the problem; outlawing guns, he said, would not solve the problem.
“The gun is just a tool, and if they can shoot you and kill you with a gun, they’re going to do it with a knife or with a crowbar; they’re going to do it with their car, or an airplane like 9/11. Those are all instruments – tools. You’ve got to concentrate on the problem; the problem is the human being,” Gayer explained.
Gayer said that while he does sympathize with the president and he understands it’s a tough issue, the fact remains that there will come a time when a gun could save a life. He said it’s up to good people to stand the line against those who would do harm.
“There’s only about 800,000 law enforcement officers in the United States; that’s federal, state, city, and county, and there’s roughly 310, 320 million Americans. You do the math. There’s not enough law enforcement officers to protect you and your family and your possessions seven days a week, 24 hours a day. At some point, you’re going to have to stand up and defend yourself until we get there,” said Gayer.
The Indiana Sheriff’s Association expressed that firearms are inanimate objects with no will of their own, but they can be exploited as instruments of violence. For that reason, the association has said it is critical that sheriffs continue to work to keep firearms away from those who would use them to commit acts of violence against others.