Hood River sheriff says no letter necessary on gun laws

While several Oregon sheriffs have written to the White House opposing “unconstitutional” gun control laws, Hood River County Sheriff Matt English will not be joining them.

“I’m not going to join and write a letter; I think some of it is premature,” English said. “Some of it came out before the Obama administration even issued anything.”

Last week, the sheriffs of Linn, Crook, Coos and Curry counties signed a letter to Vice President Joe Biden stating that “[a]ny federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders” of their counties.

English said it was part of a sheriff’s job description to protect everyone’s rights.

“All sheriffs take an oath to uphold the Constitution, laws of Oregon, and for me, the laws of Hood River County,” he said. “One of our jobs is to protect people’s rights — and that includes the Second Amendment . . . some of those proposals make a lot of sense; we need better care for mentally ill and better background checks. I don’t see anything in there where they are going to come and take people’s weapons away.”

Last week, President Obama outlined gun regulations he wants to see congress pass including a renewal of an assault weapons ban, a ban on high-capacity magazines and universal background checks. He also called for the approval of a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and signed more than 20 executive orders which included provisions for additional mental health funding and research on gun violence.

The sheriffs from the counties neighboring Hood River county to the east and west have also weighed in on the controversy, with Wasco County Sheriff Rick Eslund also calling concerns over new gun control regulations “premature” and telling The Dalles Chronicle he would not be in favor of “taking people’s weapons away.”

A Multnomah County Sheriff’s spokesperson told The Oregonian that Sheriff Dan Staton “supports the rights of citizens.”

While several sheriffs have written letters and others have issued statements on their stance on the Second Amendment, English said he doesn’t see any need to further emphasize his position.

He said he was in favor of looking into options to help reduce gun violence but that “I don’t have anything to add publicly on it.”

The Oregon Sheriffs Association has yet to take up a position on either the executive orders signed by President Obama, or the recommendations the president put forward to Congress.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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