Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sheriff Justin Smith of Larimer County CO

April 4, 2013
Colorado USA

For all those who've asked, below is a copy of my prepared remarks from yesterday.
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On behalf of all the elected county sheriffs that you see standing around me, I want to thank you for attending this briefing today.

I am Justin Smith, the sheriff of Larimer County.

We are here to provide a voice to the millions of honest, law-abiding Coloradans who were ignored by their governor as well as the majority party in the state house.

We watch as the President, New York billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg and the leaders in his party now are throwing their political clout behind continued efforts to impose more and more gun control laws on Colorado.

While these dedicated County Sheriffs stand here publicly for the rights of their citizens, the president, later today, hiding behind the walls of the Denver Police Academy, will surround himself with a handpicked audience of gun control supporters and police employees coerced to attend his political rally as he declares victory along with Denver's Governor, John Hickenlooper.

We are here to remind you that the voices of the 62 elected Colorado Sheriffs were silenced by the leaders of the majority party in the state house. Your governor found it too inconvenient to allot even 15 minutes to hear the concerns of the Sheriffs of his state.

One should logically ask - Why. Why was it too inconvenient to listen to an opposing viewpoint? The answer lies in Agenda Driven Politics. Gun control advocates were keenly aware that they had a short window of opportunity to exploit the emotions surrounding the tragedies in Newtown and Aurora.

Polling showed them that citizens were desperate to DO SOMETHING- DO ANYTHING and in the words of Rahm Emanuel, they don't want to waste a crisis. The president and Mayor Bloomberg watch the polls. They now realize that the emotional response they were counting on to pass their agenda has now made a turn. Just this week, CBS News released the results of a poll showing that fewer and fewer Americans support additional gun control laws and the trend is continuing downward.

The president and Mayor Bloomberg are desperate. They have watched their window of opportunity close. You see, a thinking, reasoned citizenry is much harder to fool.

Colorado Sheriffs know what dangers their communities face. We enforce the state laws to protect our citizens from those who would want to steal their property or harm them and their families.

While the gun magazine ban and the background check law may, I repeat may, have been well intended, the truth is- the way they were written, they simply went too far. We understand, we've actually read the bills. There is nothing in those two bills that would have prevented the violence in Aurora or Newtown. Even the authors of these bills recognize that.

In the last two weeks, Coloradans have personally witnessed another example of tragic violence, when pizza delivery driver Nathan Leon and Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements were murdered by a parolee mistakenly released early from the Colorado Prison System. Make no mistake, Evan Ebel had no business being outside the walls of a Colorado prison. Ebel was well known within the prison as a danger to guards and certainly a danger to the public. Now, the woman charged with knowingly violating the current state laws by arming Evan Ebel, has been released on bail. The problem isn't that we don't have enough laws to protect our community. The problem is that the system doesn't hold criminals accountable for their crimes.

What would actually help? Officers need access to the information that would allow them to disarm felons in Colorado. Under the current system, officers on the beat have no access to a database, a list, of those prohibited by state law or federal law from possessing firearms.

Rather than mandate that citizens of my county, fleeing a wildfire, conduct a background check on their friends before placing a shotgun in their friends care for safekeeping, while they watch their homes burn- why not create a database for local police officers so they can know, so the community can know who is prohibited from owning a gun. That's just common sense!

If the president wants to be a part of the solution to this epidemic of violence in our nation, he needs to be brave enough to step away from the staged media events like he's holding later today. The president and our governor need to do what county sheriffs do each and every day- sit down and listen to the opinions of those who have different viewpoints than you do.

What hasn't worked in cities like Washington DC and Chicago, won't work in Fort Collins, Colorado either.

Only with that change of course will they start to make any noticeable difference in curbing this epidemic of unacceptable violence they that we witness far too often in our nation today.

Source: Sheriff Justin Smith (facebook page)

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