Nearly 1 in 3 state sheriff groups now oppose Obama gun controls

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Three more state-wide sheriff associations have joined those opposed to President Obama's kitchen sink approach to gun control, raising the number to 14, or nearly one-third of the nation's statewide police organizations.

Sheriff associations in South Carolina, California and most recently Nevada joined the other states in demanding Obama to stop his gun grab and instead focus on expanding the national background check system to include far more information on the mental health status of gun buyers than it does now.

Nevada joined the growing group opposed to gun control just Monday. In their letter, provided Tuesday morning to Secrets, they also appealed to legislators to turn the focus on the mental health of those buying guns.

"We have all seen what persons who have mental illness, who are uses of illegal controlled substances, or are members of criminal gangs can do with weapons in their hands; any weapons, not just firearms. As it currently stands, many of these individuals are not entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for a whole variety of reasons. This must be addressed at the national, state and local levels," said the Nevada sheriffs.

But they also vowed to fight any effort to take guns from Nevadans. They wrote: "The sheriffs of the state of Nevada do not believe that the answer to this issue includes making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding individuals. As the old saying goes, 'As guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. The answer lies within a myriad of approaches including education, addressing violence, keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, criminal gang members, and illegal controlled substance users, as well as prosecuting and incarcerating those who would use firearms to commit crimes."

So far those state sheriff associations who have challenged Obama are: Nevada, South Carolina, California, Illinois, Montana, Utah, Florida, Georgia, New York, Colorado, New Mexico, Nebraska, Wyoming and Indiana.

Their approach to gun control jives with House GOP leaders who have vowed to fight efforts to ban assault-style weapons, limit the size of magazines, expand to a universal background check system and register guns. The Obama-style approach, however, is alive in the Senate.