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Gwinnett Sheriff Speaks Out On Second Amendment

Conway posts a statement in response to 'many' emails. He encourages 'All Law Abiding' Citizens To Acquire Firearm Skills.

Adding to the local and national discussion on guns, Gwinnett Sheriff Butch Conway has released a statement in support of citizens' right to legally use firearms.

"I encourage all law abiding citizens to acquire and maintain the skills to safely carry a firearm in order to protect themselves and others," the statement reads.

Conway issued the statement under the heading 'The 2nd Amendment." The U.S Constitution's Second Amendment says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Also, it was in response to "the many emails received," the website says. The statement comes just over a month after the December 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 students and six adults.

"Sadly, our society contains those that will harm others when given the opportunity. An armed citizen certainly presents much less opportunity to those that would do them harm," Conway's statement concluded.

Earlier this month, President Obama proposed a series of gun-control actions in response to the Connecticut school shootings.

Also, in his inaugural address this week, Obama made a statement that some people interpret as being soft on the Second Amendment. The president said:

"Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness.  Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time. For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay.  We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."

Also, the Gwinnett Daily Post has reported that Gwinnett's probate court received 8,610 applications in 2012 for firearms permits, up from 4,700 in 2011.

Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman has gone on record saying he too supports the Second Amendment. He also did not go so far as to say he wouldn't enforce any laws considered unconstitutional, at least not at this time. He said he was waiting to see what eventually came out of Washington before making any comment.

David Binder January 25, 2013 at 05:55 AM
Sheriff Conway, Sheriff Chapman, thank you for your support on this issue. I am a law abiding citizen, a gun owner (and carrier), and have been responsibly trained on how to use my weapon. With 15 years experience in Public Safety (as a civilian) it still amazes me at the things that really go on around us. It's nice to know that there is support in our Law Enforcement community on the right to protect & defend ourselves, families & home.
Good Grief Y'all January 25, 2013 at 12:12 PM
Exactly, the right to protect and defend, but not to obliterate a group of people in seconds with weapons that military personnel use to fight a war. The "right" to keep and bear arms is not "infringed" upon when weapons of war are not available except to the military and law enforcement. When such firearms are used against LE in their own building they may have a different view.
Linda January 25, 2013 at 02:01 PM
I am a sixty-four year old grandmother of 5 and a gun owner. When I lived in Montana for 4 years, I went to gun safety classes. They not only taught us gun safety, but the proper care of weapons. There is hardly any crime in Montana (yes we had the Uni-Bomber hiding in the woods) but burglaries, robberies, home invasions were unheard of. Think about it.. what self respecting criminal is going to enter a home to do harm when there is a 99.9% chance the homeowner is armed. You can walk into K-Mart with a gun strapped to your side as long as iut is not covered by clothing. A purse is not clothing, so a woman can carry a gun in her purse without a conceal carry permit. got to www.dailyinterlake.com and read the police roundup for Flathead County, Montana.
Karsten Torch January 25, 2013 at 04:19 PM
There is no "right", expressed or implied, for people to 'obliterate a group of people in seconds" regardless of what weapons are available. To say that is, quite frankly, ignorant. And we've had this discussion before - of course the 2nd amendment is infringed when limitations are placed upon it. The purpose of the 2nd amendment is not to protect our hunting weapons, or even those we keep in the house for self defense. They are for a militia, for the people to protect themselves from aggressors, foreign or domestic.
Brian Crawford January 25, 2013 at 06:29 PM
I would assume any Sheriff sworn to uphold the Constitution would be a supporter of the Second Amendment. These statements are superfluous and entirely self-serving. They seem to me to be nothing more than a desperate attempt to create publicity. And please explain to me how President Obama's statement is soft on the Second Amendment. It has nothing to do with guns. He has repeatedly stated his support for Second Amendment rights and his current proposals are no more drastic than previous gun control laws. One can support the Second Amendment and sensible firearm regulations.
Crystal January 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Why is it acceptable to trample on our 2nd amendment!?!? Sheriffs are constitutional officers therefore they are suppose to protect and up hold it . Not enforce laws and executive orders that trample on it . I commend Sheriff Joe Chapman and Butch Conway for supporting this issue. What do people not understand about "shall not be infringed upon". The 2nd amendment has nothing to do with hunting and everything to do with self defense, even against a tyrant government . This is a GOD given right not a right given to us by man and no man should infringe upon in . Why is it that we are labeled gun nuts or gun activists by man stream media. why not refer to us as AMERICAN! Americans that are standing up and defending our rights . If you prefer not to own a gun thats your choice but don' t force me to follow you. I am a legal gun owner and have a permit. I carry a gun almost every where I can legally . I am educated and feel if I ever had to use my gun I could to protect myself and family. I also don't understand the logic behind passing more laws when the criminals are obviously not following the ones already in place.Why not spend extra money and resources enforcing the current laws. Go after the criminals and leave the law abiding citizens alone . I am proud to live in Walton County and call Joe Chapman my sheriff.
Tim January 25, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Sheriff Conway, a personal thanks from a Walton County resident for taking a public stand FOR the correct intent of the 2nd Amendment and that is #1 for the citizen to protect himself and family from the tyranny of the Government and #2 for the citizen to protect themselves from the Criminal Element. Many liberals and the liberal leftist media want to corrupt the true meaning of the Constitution to influence the sheeple, the non thinkers, the people that want other people to think for them....the drinkers of the Socialist Kool Aid if you will. You and I and millions of other "Enlightened" patriots across this land see once again that the Democrats have no shame as Obama, Joe Biden and Diane Feinstein and her lackies push the Gun Control agenda from behind the innocence of children. Yes, Newtown was a tragedy but to use it and exploit innocent and dead children for their political agenda is unconscionable to me. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Fidel Castro all exploited children in their propaganda campaigns to emotionally influence the simple minded populace. But most of us can see beyond their facade and into their dark heart of the matter. I am a hardcore Pro 2nd Amendment and CCW carrier and supporter. Our Forefathers were very intelligent and wise men, forward lookers and Thinkers who had just come out from under the tyrrany of King George. What better time to pen our Constitution with Universal truths that mirror the Freedom, Liberty and Self Reliance residing in the Human Soul.
Brian Crawford January 25, 2013 at 10:52 PM
Nobody is trampling the Second Amendment. According to Justice Scalia's majority opinion in DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA et al. v. HELLER: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons." Under this interpretation military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines would certainly fit the description of " dangerous and unusual weapons" thus a ban on such weapons is clearly Constitutional.
Good Grief Y'all January 26, 2013 at 12:12 AM
Well-regulated militia. R e g u l a t e d.
Good Grief Y'all January 26, 2013 at 12:47 AM
A sheriff should uphold local laws and the Constitution, but is not given the power to interpret it. He or she should defer to the bench on such matters. Opinion and political affiliation do not count. Guns not secured and safeguarded are at the center of their own special category of crimes, stolen for the purpose of committing other crimes. Criminals get their hands on weapons stolen from gun dealers at the rate of approximately 25,000/yr. From homes and property crimes, another 230,000/yr are stolen. Lots of gun owners are not being careful and smart with their firearm property. Hiding these problems behind the 2nd Amendment will continue to get people killed. So will arguing with a stop sign instead of obeying it.
Crystal January 26, 2013 at 01:59 AM
So we have criminals stealing guns from law abiding citizens and its the gun owners fault......not the criminals? Criminals obey the law therefore we should pass more laws, right? No one is hiding anything behind the 2nd amendment!!!!! It only makes sense to stop the criminals and mentally ill . They are the ones committing the crimes . instead of addressing the real problem Obama and his supporters would rather infringe upon our rights . The sheriff enforces the laws of the state and county.....They are not federal agents. I would love to know were you got the figures on gun theft. The FBI has collected data on murders over the years and in 2011 1,694 people were killed by knives, 496 by hammers, and 323 by all types of riffles. Why not ban "assault knives" since they kill more people than guns. In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd amendment protects the individuals right to posses a firearm, unconnected from a militia.The case was Columbia v. Heller.
Tim January 26, 2013 at 02:14 AM
Brian, weapons are dangerous or not dangerous only in the hands of the person using them. The weapon lying there on a table is neither good nor bad. I wholeheartedly disagree. I will be armed as equally as the criminal element. since many gangs are now doing home invasions with AK 47's and 30 round mags. I will be armed with numerous 30 round mags. You care more about the criminals than the law abiding citizens as do most liberals. Libs also call the AR-15 an assault weapon which in the hands of the military it is. In the hands of law abiding citizens, it is a self defense weapon. The Supreme Court has already settled the matter that the 2nd Amendment DOES apply to the individual. Obviously, from the mindset of a Liberal you are incapable of understanding or accepting such. Just rest assured that you are not going to prevent any law abiding citizen from obtaining and AR-15 or AK-47 or high capacity mags. as bad as you and several others on here want to. And it appears that includes Obama, Diane Feinstein and her lackies as well. GGY, this sheriff IS upholding the 2nd Amendment by declaring he will NOT enforce any law from the Obama administration or Congress that is unconstitutional. You evidently want people to be bots, non thinkers, drinkers of the Kool Aid of Socialism.... The Constitution IS THE LAW OF THE LAND. I will personally defy any law that I believe is unconstitutional in reference to this and will not defer to anyone. And btw, your opinion doesn't count
Brian Crawford January 26, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Tim, the passage I quoted earlier was taken directly from the Supreme Court decision (D,C, vs. Miller) that upheld an individual's right to arm himself. It also held that the government has the right to regulate certain aspects of gun commerce including the types of weapon one may own. Here it is again. From Justice Scalia: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons." Read through that slowly and carefully. Under this interpretation military style assault weapons and high capacity magazines would certainly fit the description of " dangerous and unusual weapons" thus a ban on such weapons is clearly Constitutional. Since, like me, you are a lover of our Constitution, I assume you will defer to the Justice's decision.
Good Grief Y'all January 26, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Yes, Crystal, because those gun owners didn't securely store the guns which were stolen. Yes, it is their fault. Obviously, gun dealers should have more security and private owners need to do a better job of not leaving their firearms out or in obvious and easy-to-find hidey-holes. Yes, the President and the task force did address the mental health issue. It is not the job of a sheriff or any LE personnel to interpret the Constitution. The courts decide that matter when there is a question. That sheriff is seeking his 15 minutes of fame. You can google or bing the report yourself. Then you might believe it. The obvious issue for those not too stubborn to acknowledge it is that assault-style-military-grade firearms do not belong in the hands of individuals who can use them to quickly kill lots of people. Show me where someone with a knife, ball bat or using hands and feet killed 26 people in minutes. You can more possibly get away from or take down an attacker using those weapons. Run away from rapid fire discharged even from a distance? Stupid comparison. The 2nd Amendment doesn't address limitations on the types of firearms. So, you see, you can possess your guns and rifles without also being allowed to possess military-grade automatic machines.
Good Grief Y'all January 26, 2013 at 01:09 PM
If this sheriff defies the law of the land, regardless of whether HE declares it unconstitutional, he is breaking the law. You are, too, if you do the same. Maybe you two can commiserate in adjoining cells. You don't get to decide whose opinion counts any more than that spotlight-seeking sheriff gets to decide what is or isn't Constitutional.
Crystal January 26, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Good Grief Y'all, can you please tell me where you read the statistics about gun thefts? Have you ever shot a semi automatic rifle? Have you ever fired a shotgun or a hand gun? what was addressed about mental health? I heard him mention mental health but that' s it. No plan of action on how to handle it. I think going back and forth is really a waste of our time. We have totally different views and have the right to freely express them.......Thanks to the 1st amendment! I just wish everyone could see that once the government is allowed to take certain rights away they will continue until we have non left. Maybe you should consider moving to Chicago....they have very strict gun laws!!!! They also have a very high crime rate.
Brian Crawford January 27, 2013 at 01:52 AM
That first sentence should read "Tim, the passage I quoted earlier was taken directly from the Supreme Court decision (D.C. vs. Heller)...."

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