Yakima Sheriff Issues Statement On Gun Control

<p>A Gun</p>

A Gun

The Yakima County Sheriff speaks out about gun control today.

Sheriff Ken Irwin issued a statement this afternoon stating that taking guns away from people is not the solution to violence -- and no more bans or restrictions should be placed on firearms.

Irwin says efforts need to be focused on developing strategies to prevent people from committing acts of violence, such as treatment for those in mental distress, raising awareness, and creating a practical process for background checks.

"We have to realize that we can't always trust our neighbor, trust even our government at times, we've seen that in our history, and other nations history," said Irwin, "The last thing we need is an unarmed, unprepared public."

President Obama recently introduced his gun plan package last week, which included more stringent background checks, and a ban on assault-type weapons.

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Here is the original statement from Irwin:

As your elected sheriff for these past twelve years, I have renewed my oath each time you elected me to this high office, “I, Kenneth William Irwin, being first duly sworn upon oath, do depose and say that I will support the Constitution of the United States and laws of the State of Washington and faithfully and impartially discharge and perform the duties of SHERIFF of Yakima County, Washington, according to the best of my abilities, so help me God.”  Both the Constitution of the United States (in the 2nd Amendment) and the Washington State Constitution (in Article 1, Section 24) include the right of the people to keep and bear arms.     

Our nation is going through a very difficult and disturbing time of violence against one another in which many types of weapons have been used.  I have given this much thought and conclude that the best answers to curbing this violence will be the most difficult to achieve, will take continued effort, and should not be focused on a certain type of weapon as the symbol of violence.  Taking guns away from eligible law abiding people who love this nation and its freedoms is not the answer and cannot be recognized as a lawful strategy.    

The only common thread in all violent acts is the perpetrator of the violence and that is where our focus should be.  Individual rights can be protected if we move smartly to lessen violence in our society as together we improve awareness, treatment and maintenance of people in mental distress while also expanding keystone strategies such as the effective campaign against bullying and for positive role modeling in accepting and nurturing others.  Additionally, we need to make sure we have a practical and effective process for background checks on all firearms transactions, stress continued improvement of firearms safety and firearms security, and definitely improve safety in public places such as schools.  

I strongly believe we must focus on strategies that will truly make people healthier and safer, while we also protect each of our Constitutional rights.   We can do this … together.