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Multnomah sheriff addresses gun debate

Sheriff Dan Staton will not make immediate changes


In the wake of proposed national legislation intended to curb gun violence, Multnomah County Sheriff Dan Staton on Thursday, Jan. 17, released a statement that he will not begin enforcing any laws that have not yet been passed.

Staton's announcement comes one day after President Barack Obama formally announced his proposals to reduce gun violence, including a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Law enforcement officers around the country have objected publicly to the proposal, including Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller, who called it unconstitutional.

He also said he would not enforce any federal regulations.

Staton said he has a procedure for evaluating and understanding any new legislation that affects Multnomah County residents. He would go through the same due diligence before enforcing any new gun control laws.

“I do not ... plan to make any immediate change of policy or practice with regard to recent reports I have heard of gun control measures proposed by elected officials locally or nationally,” he wrote.

Staton added that if laws are passed, he will evaluate the regulations before choosing to enforce them.

“No change in the practices of this office will come without both a clear understanding of the measures proposed or enacted into law, or a chance to hear back from the citizens of Multnomah County regarding these proposals,” Staton wrote. “Nor do I believe that a fast-tracked approach will be effective in improving what is a very complex issue in our country.”

Staton also discussed his obligation to support the Constitution, privacy rights for concealed handgun holders and create tougher screening for gun licenses.

“The first line of my oath of office is that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and I have and intend to continue to do that very thing,” he wrote. “I support the rights of citizens granted by the Constitution, and have worked hard to ensure those rights are protected."

Last month, mass shootings locally at Clackamas Town Center and nationally at a grade school in Newtown, Conn., spurred the gun control debate.

Staton said he's aware that local citizens are eager to see steps taken to prevent further violence.

“I am personally shocked and saddened by the recent events that have brought these issues front and center, and I will be engaged with my fellow elected officials, public safety partners and the citizens of this county as we thoughtfully consider what measures might be taken to curb the violence seen in these recent events,” he wrote.




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