By MELINDA WILLIAMS
Clipper Staff Writer
FARMINGTON — Davis County Sheriff Todd Richardson wants to set the minds of county residents at ease about the direction the nation is headed with gun control laws.
"Take a deep breath and remember we're at the beginning of the process," Richardson said last week, after an open house about the issue at the sheriff's office.
Richardson also shared his views of a letter to President Barak Obama signed by 28 of Utah's 29 sheriffs, including Richardson. All 28 are members of the Utah Sheriff's Association, excluding only Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
The letter informs the president that Utah's sheriffs "will enforce the rights guaranteed by our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights — in particular Amendment II — has given them."
Some are calling the letter premature, Richardson said, in that no changes have been made in gun control legislation, "but it's really not premature,” he said. “We're going into the gun control debate on the national scene and the letter is meant to let the president and Congress know our feelings. It's not meant to rile anyone but to lay out what we deem constitutional."
That being said, Richardson reminded about 40 people about the Brady Bill, which requires background checks on individuals purchasing guns. That bill didn't stop individuals from owning guns.
"We've walked down this path before," he said.
Most of those at the open house were concerned their Second Amendment rights would be "trampled by the federal government," Richardson said. "I wanted to put their minds at ease, and tell them to let the process work."
Richardson is not opposed to every part of the president's 23-point executive order on gun control.
The sheriff agrees there needs to discussion on mental health issues and that guns need to be kept out of the hands of restricted persons. He also agrees on required background checks.
"We absolutely need these types of discussions," he said.
Read more about gun control and the training local police officers receive in the Jan. 31 edition of the Clipper.