Fear is defined as ‘a distressing emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat – whether the threat is real or imagined’. We all face fear from time to time and fear means different things to different people. But oftentimes fear is unwarranted and is caused by misunderstandings and emotion.
Perception is reality and with the recent gun violence, the Washington politics, and the talk of the ban on the sale of certain guns, fear has spread across the country that the government is coming to ‘take our guns’. Like my fellow Arkansas Sheriffs, I have been inundated with phone calls, emails and visits from citizens who are fearful of losing their Second Amendment rights. The people want our assurance that we will defend them. I have consistently said that I took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and I will uphold that Oath… but what I do not do is respond to hypothetical fear.
I serve on the Executive Board of the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association and we met a few days ago to discuss this issue. With a unanimous vote of the Sheriffs, we released this official statement that I believe reflects the values and beliefs of not only myself but all of the Sheriffs in Arkansas.
The Arkansas Sheriff’s Association supports the Constitution and the 2nd Amendment rights of our citizens. We recognize the recent increase in violence and mass shootings have raised questions relating to the sale and possession of firearms. The Arkansas Sheriff’s Association further believes that we must hold offenders responsible, not law abiding citizens.
The Arkansas Sheriff’s Association does support enforcement of the existing gun laws and the strengthening of current back ground checks including identifying individuals with mental health issues. The Arkansas Sheriff’s Association does not support legislation that restricts current gun possession and current gun sales to our citizens that weakens our 2nd Amendment Rights.
I fully realize that this statement or any others will not please all of the people. There will be some on the far left who want all guns banned and some on the far right who want the Sheriff to stand on the borders of our respective counties with armed guards. What I can assure the citizens is that as your elected Sheriff I will continue to fight to protect and enhance the quality of life in Baxter County and I will continue to do what I believe is right.
The Second Amendment comes with responsibility. My belief is that we cannot hold the guns responsible; it is the people who use the guns who are responsible. If a person is drunk while driving and kills someone, it is the person’s fault, not the alcohol brewery or the automobile. Hammers don’t bend nails and pencils don’t misspell words. Society has become increasingly set on shifting blame to someone or something other than themselves. I do believe that gun owners need to realize that owning or possessing a gun is a significant responsibility. Owners must keep their guns locked up or hidden from children and from people who have mental issues.
We must all do our part whether we are gun owners or not. We must take responsibility for our own actions and hold others accountable for theirs. America is a great nation that was founded on solid guiding principles which we must never forget or abandon.
Sheriff John Montgomery