Local sheriffs vow to oppose Obama's gun control - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Local sheriffs vow to oppose Obama's gun control

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(WRCB) -- As President Obama spent part of his day pitching his anti-gun violence agenda in Minnesota, more law enforcement agencies across the country are vowing to uphold the right to bear arms.

Two sheriffs in the Tennessee Valley are speaking out on gun rights.

"I would hope that the legislature at the federal level would not mess with second amendment rights," says Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond.

It is a stance that Sheriff Hammond and other sheriffs across the country are taking.

"Sheriffs are constitutional officers and we take very seriously protecting the rights of citizens, when it comes, especially this case, to their second amendment rights."

Hammond says the Tennessee Sheriffs' Association will soon follow suit behind others across the country, including Georgia's, which has a statement posted on its website.

It reads in part, "The sheriffs will aggressively oppose federal or state legislation which infringes upon law abiding citizens' right to bear arms."

This comes as President Obama is rallying for a ban on assault weapons and universal background checks.

"It's not because of what he's doing, it's because I want to let them know how I would stand as a sheriff," says Hammond.

Just two weeks ago, the Bradley County Commission passed a resolution, vowing support of existing state and federal rights to bear arms.

Sheriff Jim Ruth wrote a letter publicly supporting it, saying he took an oath to support the constitution and it is his solemn obligation to support the resolution.

"I hope we can come together with some realistic legislation to make society safer and at the same time not to pick on things that have no effect," says Commissioner J. Adam Lowe.

Lowe proposed the resolution.

He says a ban is not the answer.

"When we look at violent crime rates with countries with bans, we see that it doesn't reduce violent crime."

He is open to laws that make it tougher for guns to end up in a criminals' hands.

"Background checks are a reasonable expectation to screen those who are law abiding. I think it gives a lot of gun dealers, whom are many friends of mine, an opportunity to know more about a person before they sell them a weapon," says Lowe.

Bottom line, there is a call for open dialogue when it comes to gun rights.

"I just think we've got to have cool heads in making a decision, we can't be rushing into something with a knee-jerk reaction," says Hammond.

Both Hammond and Lowe say when it comes to school safety, they are big advocates of supporting the school resource officer program.

But Hammond says it all depends on what tax payers are willing to pay.

He says if he were to put an SRO in every Hamilton County school, his budget would increase by $6 million.

Click here to read more from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.

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