Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Harry Gillway
Kimball County Sheriff 

Sheriff's Corner: Gun Control


This is one Sheriff’s open opinion and want it to be known to the people of my county. I’m sure most sheriffs feel the same way as I do. I am adamantly opposed to any thing that infringes on our Constitutional rights; gun control is one that’s a burr under my saddle.

What happened in Sandy Hook and the theater in Colorado are tragic and I feel for those families deeply. I hate it when people suffer and die no matter the cause. It should be realized, it was the deranged people who killed those innocent people not the gun. Just as in 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing of the Murrah Federal Building these are deranged people with a goal to kill.

The difference was Sandy Point and the theater were semi-automatic guns and 9/11 was the use of airplanes and the Murrah Building was fertilizer and diesel fuel. If the deranged person or persons are intent on killing they don’t have to have a gun, they will find another way. In at least two separate incidents in the past year China had school attacks by deranged people with knives. Is our federal government going to ban airplanes, fertilizer, diesel fuel and knives?

Gun control doesn’t work. What we need is control of mentally ill and deranged people. Sometime in the late 70s or 1980, the courts started saying that the mentally ill have rights and could not be locked up even though they had homicidal thoughts and tendencies. Thus we opened the doors of mental intuitions, releasing thousands of mentally ill people on the streets. Many of those institutions are closed today. We further put in place more rights of privacy which limited access of mental records of deranged people. Finally we got Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 which again put more limitations on what law enforcement could get on mentally ill people.

Today, as a cop, we find more and more people with mental issues. In Kimball County we have scores of transient and homeless people passing through. My deputies and I offer them rides to the county line and frankly, less than one percent are not mentally ill.

When a person comes into my office and wants a state gun permit to purchase a firearm we check their criminal history but have no way to check if the person has ever been treated for mental illness. The form they fill out asks “Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?” but we have no way to check if a person has been demeaned or treated for mental illness. The federal form asks the same question when a person actually makes the purchase.

To me it’s kind of a stupid question…guess they’d have to be crazy if they answered “Yes.”

Back to gun control. Connecticut has one of the strictest gun control laws in the nation yet a deranged person stole a lawfully owned firearm, killing the owner (his mother) then killing 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Where gun control is tighter is Europe; you might remember the news a few years back of a deranged man who killed 77 in Norway with guns and a homemade bomb (most of the victims were children) or the school shooting in Paris. The worst school killing was Beslan, Russia where deranged terrorists killed 385 people…186 were children. No matter how strict the gun control is, mentally ill deranged people will kill. Let’s not forget more people are killed in the United States by beatings each year than guns. Has gun control worked anywhere? The answer is simple, No.

In closing, as Sheriff in this county I believe that every law abiding and mentally competent person should own a gun. I firmly believe you should exercise that right before the President enacts gun control under executive order.

I will not enforce any executive order which impinges on your Constitutional rights, to include gun control or collection of weapons, as Sheriff.

The bottom line is you have the right to own and possess firearms as guaranteed by our Constitution, as Sheriff I have sworn that I will uphold that law and will.

Make sure that when you come in to get your gun permit, please ask for me. I personally want to shake your hand and thank you for exercising your right to own a firearm.


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