Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart posted this statement on Facebook Monday afternoon:
The role of the county sheriff and gun control:
Across our great nation, there has been a great deal of discussion about gun control and the role of the county sheriff. As sheriffs, we hold a unique position as the only elected chief law enforcement officers. The sheriff is the sworn protector of the citizens of the entire county. We report solely to the citizens who have elected us. This is an honor that is affirmed through an oath of office. By taking this sacred oath, I have given my word to support, defend, and obey the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Minnesota.
Because of this unique enforcement role, county sheriffs are being asked to express their views about the current controversy related to gun control. This is a highly complex situation with too many variables to address in a short note. However, I wanted the citizens of Anoka County to have a basic understanding of my stance on the matter. Like you, I have many concerns for the safety of our children and indeed, all citizens. Your family’s safety is my number one priority. However, more stringent gun control alone will not resolve the problems of escalating gun violence in our society. We need to take a comprehensive approach to this highly complex issue. I would support expanded gun safety programs, improved mental health treatment, and an expansion of the background investigation process when obtaining a permit to carry. All of these would address deficiencies in the current system and would help improve public safety. I fully support the stance recently taken by the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association as well as that of the National Sheriff’s Association, which strongly support the right of citizens to keep and bear arms.
I am NOT willing to support, condone, or conduct any type of weapon confiscation or effort to disarm citizens. This includes any presidential orders, which would be considered federal law. As county sheriffs, we do not have authority to enforce federal laws, as they are not within our jurisdiction. Like many of you, I will be watching any proposed legislative changes very closely to ensure that public safety remains paramount, while not infringing upon
the rights of citizens.
As sheriff, I am an employee of the people and am sworn to protect and serve. I fully understood and accepted this responsibility when I raised my hand and swore an oath before God and the citizens that I proudly serve, and I will not waiver in my service to you.
Anoka County Sheriff James Stuart