Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My turn: A petition for the sheriff

From page A4 | March 20, 2013 | 40 Comments

Pat Snellling


I was troubled by our El Dorado County Sheriff’s protest letter to Vice President Biden, so I decided to look at what these documents actually said.

The President’s Executive Orders are no different than what the State of California’s current orders: trace guns collected in a crime (Executive Order #9) and collect local data for background checks (#2). Those are the only ones that ask for something “from” the Sheriff.

The other orders are intended to provide tools to help him do his job: review categories of those who should be prohibited from guns (#4); direct the Department of Justice to add support to our local law enforcement (#10); and maximize local enforcement (#13).

Sheriff John D’Agostini admitted at the March 7 meeting that there was nothing in the 25 Executive Orders that would call for him to violate the Second Amendment.

I am not a gun owner, but three of my sons are gun owners, and they have no problem with these Executive Orders.

I have a lot of respect for the sheriff and his people, but blocking any effort to get guns out of the hands of criminals can only make his job that much more difficult.

I decided to collect signatures for a petition asking the sheriff to:

• Trace guns confiscated in a crime (he’s doing that now at the state level)
• Provide needed information for background checks (he’s doing this also at the state level).

D’Agostini said that he didn’t want to work with the Feds on this.

I question his decision on this after going over the testimony of the two ATF agents who testified at Darrell Issa’s Congressional Hearing on “Fast & Furious.”

The agents said the major problem they had with stopping the “gun-walking” (their term) was caused by states not talking to each other and not sharing information.

A good example of this is the Beltway Sniper back in 2002, who committed a crime in Washington State, bought a gun in New Jersey, fired shots in Alabama with that gun, and killed 11 people in Virginia with the same gun. States were blocked from sharing anything and the ATF’s hands were tied with 2006 legislation blocking it from collecting data.

Police officers walked right past the sniper’s car on two separate occasions as it sat near the shootings. The officers didn’t have Alabama’s or New Jersey’s information. The ATF agents said if they could have shared this information, law officials might have been able to save the woman at the Shell gas station or the 72-year-old man walking down the street.

I’m not alone in our call for the sheriff to get these illegal guns and gun owners off the street.

I collected 500 signatures for my petition from people who live and work in El Dorado County asking D’Agostini to work with the federal government on “Responsible Gun Ownership.” Even after I handed my petition to the sheriff with numerous comments a week ago, I still have people coming up to me asking me if they can add their names.

I can only hope the sheriff hears our voices as well as he hears the others who are his political friends.

Pat Snelling ran for the board of the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District last year and is a resident of Garden Valley.


Discussion | 40 comments

  • From JoeMarch 20, 2013 - 3:51 am

    JoeMarch 08, 2013 - 7:08 pmLawyers and judges interpret laws, police enforce them. Can you imagine the slippery slope it would create to have cops interpreting laws and enforcing them based on their own opinions? Talk about unconstitutional. I dont care if you’re pro or anti guns, you can’t posdibly think that’s a good idea. Plus, if the ban passes, it applies to future gun sales, not current owners. So that law would be enforced federally by the ATF, not by any local law enforcement. The only thing local cops would have to do is the same thing they always do… If they find a gun, they need to know if its legally owned. It doesn’t matter if its a hand gun or assault weapon. So this sheriff needs to get off his high horse and do his job… Enforcing the laws that are put on the books reguradless of their personal opinions.

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  • NancyMarch 20, 2013 - 7:10 am

    I, as well as many, many other EDC residents support the Sheriff. And that includes a lot more than 500 signatures on your petition. Stick to your guns, Sheriff John.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 20, 2013 - 9:05 am

    The support for the law abiding and the Constitution by over five hundred Sheriff's across the country is the real importance and is historic. The leftists know they have to amend the Constitution to change it and this has leftists trying to do an end-around, which the Sheriff's recognize and oppose. The petition should be to the leftists who infest Govt. to stop letting armed felons out early, lock them up for life when found armed, propose a federal three strike law, and deal with mentally ill dangerous people with the same type of treatment with in-patient facilities. Until then crime will continue to grow and nothing will slow it down. Attacking the law abiding, making them a new class of criminals for the actions of armed felons and mentally disturbed violent offenders is beyond ridiculous.

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  • DanielMarch 20, 2013 - 9:51 am

    I would be happy to add my name to that petition. And yes, I am a proponent of the 2nd amendment and a gun owner. My support of the Sherrif's politics has nothing to do with my support of Ms. Snelling's petition. As a resident of EDC over two decades now, I am also deeply troubled by the very notion of our local law enforcement leader empowering himself to interpret the constitutionality of laws he gets paid to enforce. This type of audacious appropriation of judicial power by another branch is in and of itself, patently unconstitutional. And it is hypocritical to support the Sheriff simply because this one time, you are in agreement with his politics. This is an absolutely alarming and dangerous precedent and we all should be united in opposing it on principle. We should never agree to give any one branch of government powers that it simply doesn't have just out of political expediency or convenience. What if we all support him, and the next Sheriff follows suit with imposing his/her own interpretations of laws protecting our 1st or 4th amendment rights? What if you don't agree with those interpretations? Sheriffs simply don't get to decide these matters. That should not be difficult to comprehend. As the old adage goes, "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it." Even if you a devoted NRA card carrying gun enthusiast, as a citizen you have an obligation to resist the Sheriff's misappropriation of judicial power. What's next? Will he start judging us guilty or innocent and issuing sentences upon arrest? The rulings regarding 2nd amendment rights, just like those regarding the other rights in the Bill of Rights, have been nuanced and complex. They do allow for governmental controls in the name of public safety and welfare, similar to the way our right to free speech and assembly are limited. If the Sheriff has concerns about the constitutionality of any laws he is paid to enforce, he can and should follow the channels we all have available as citizens to challenge them. Meanwhile, as long as I pay part of his salary, I want him out of the judicial branch's sandbox. I want him to do his job. I would consider him, or any law enforcement official for that matter, who empowers himself with judicial powers, to be a threat to my constitutional freedoms and rights. If too many people support this type of constitutional insubordination by our leaders, then we have nothing folks. May our precious Republic RIP. Don't give into irrational fears or your even your own political or party affiliations. Don't be complicit in the Sheriff's dangerous overeach and appeal to populism presumably to secure future votes. I know it's tempting, but don't give in.

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 9:51 am

    Why do leftists want to run everyone elses life for them? Did you see where even the commie leftists in the senate know that they don't have anything near a majority support for their gun-grabbing agenda which is why dianne feinstein's bill didn't even make it out of the dimorat run committee. Get a life and MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!!!!!!!!

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 20, 2013 - 10:34 am

    The premise being that over five hundred Sheriff's across the country aren't smart enough to interpret the Constitution and therefore this is a dangerous concept, it is better to trust leftist tyrant lawyers from elite leftist law schools. Can I suggest you re-read the 2nd Amendment carefully and realize it is very plain and simple and that these Sheriff's have an oath of office to uphold. If a concern is that Sheriff's aren't smart enough to know about the Constitution and who it protects then you have surrendered into believing that an illegal un-Constitutional law by a leftist is the law to follow, Just like the King of England's laws here, and it is best to trust leftist politicians in Washington now or the King of England in 1776 for they know what is best for all. This country was founded on being able to recognize illegal laws imposed by tyrants and is how the Constitution was born. Sheeple-style thinking is as dangerous then as it is now.

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 10:51 am

    Any letter that starts out with "I was troubled" can be chalked up to pure emotion and not much of anything else. And in case you weren't aware, emotions don't think. Which is in perfect parallel with leftism.

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  • Dink LaneMarch 20, 2013 - 11:38 am

    "Sheriff John D’Agostini admitted at the March 7 meeting that there was nothing in the 25 Executive Orders that would call for him to violate the Second Amendment."...... Sounds like the Sheriff knew -- THAT IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE CONSTITUTION!.... It has to do with POLITICS!.... but NANCY & COOKIE65 will IGNORE the facts in this pieces and say... "It's leftist!.... It's leftist!"..... (Sounds like the chicken running around saying "The sky is falling. The sky is falling.").... No logic just squawking.

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 12:42 pm

    Dink, it would be great if you learned how to read. I realize how just being told what to believe is much less complicated for someone of your limitations. It would be considerably more useful to the conversation if you got your facts straight. The Sheriff said in his letter, “The purpose of this letter is to go on record of reaffirming my oath of office and making it clear that I and my staff will never violate that oath by being pressured into enforcing any unconstitutional provision, law or executive order.” obama issued 23, not 25, executive orders, to summarize those executive orders they are generalities in regards to the sharing of information, pretending to do something about mental illness, training of first responders, nominate an ATF director, a standardized response plan, incentives to provide real security at schools and the all-around leftists cure for everything. Throw money at it. Nothing in obama’s executive orders are remotely connected to the context of what the Sheriff was speaking about in his and hundreds of other Sheriff’s letters to the crash test dummy biden. At least try and sound like you have some clue as to the point of the Sheriff’s letter. Let’s be honest Dink, the outright objective of the leftists is to disarm the American citizens. To abolish the 2nd Amendment. The believe that they will eventually be successful in doing so. We have past the point of you guys being able to hide what your motives are. You expose you agenda by the way you have responded to the Sheriff’s support of the Constitution.

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  • Jim RiordanMarch 20, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    So you were NOT troubled when your clueless hero Biden told people to "just shoot a shotgun through the door"? You may "question" Sheriff John, but you should be questioning your hero Biden's ability to tell any County Sheriff what to do. I guess I won't be as kind to you as some others . . . shove your petition. Or give me one and I will save it in case I run out of TP. I agree 100% with Sheriff John and the rest of the Sheriffs who signed similar letters. Your point about "fast and SPurious" is completely off point. If the idiots did not have the agreement/cooperation of all the states and agencies AHEAD OF TIME and a,(forgive me), bulletproof agreement to share the needed information, then every idiot involved in that debacle is personally responsible for all those guns and ammo falling into the wrong hands. Just another big government screw up. Period. Every government person involved in that debacle should have been fired right after it happened. I bet all the happy idiots are still on our payroll after wasting all of our taxpayer dollars. Spend before you think, yup, that's our great government. I'm sure our Sheriff will work with the government within the limits of the constitution while attempting to protect his County from any abuses or misinterpretations of the constitution by overzealous idiots.

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  • Dink LaneMarch 20, 2013 - 1:22 pm

    So let's see Cookie65.... You 1st slam me... That builds your case?.... Next you agree that NOTHING in the Executive orders VIOLATES the Constitution.... The Sheriff himself said--there in front of all those people "No one asked him to VIOLATE the constitution.".... So was D'Agonstini strutting around like a Rooster, feather's all puffed out saying "He's not telling me what to do!" or was he saying "I will do what it takes to protect the people of this county first!"???? I saw a rooster.... You saw some imaginary bogy-man in Washington DC.... It's time to come down to EARTH.... and agree... NOT everyone is QUALIFIED to have a gun.

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  • Dink LaneMarch 20, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Hey, Jim... Fast and Furious started when the NRA wrote the legislation for all ATF Directors to be approved by the Senate in 2005... A Republican Congress, a Republican President.... NO Oversite on the ATF $$$$.... But I have faith in you Jim... You'll figure out how to twist-it-around and blame on the Leftist and/or Obama and/or Holder..... No logic...just squawk and chatter...

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    Dink, did you see this story? An 11 year old boy posted a picture of himself holding a .22 rifle his dad bought him for his birthday. Social services and the police showed up at their house and wanted to search the house and their safe without a warrent. That is what we are talking about, the complete abuse of power by government agencies against free law abiding citizens.

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  • R.J. CarterMarch 20, 2013 - 1:57 pm

    Think everyone on the planet probably knows by now that the Bush-era operation was named "Operation Wide Receiver," and was run out of Tucson between 2006 and 2007, ending before Bush left office and WAY, before "Fast and Furious" (a totally different operation) began under Obama in 2009. Plus, the differences between "Operation Wide Receiver, and "Fast and Furious" are HUGE, starting with the fact that Wide Receiver was successful and produced no dead bodies.....The body count from "Fast and Furious is still stacking up and still no answers....

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  • GlennMarch 20, 2013 - 2:20 pm

    I also would be happy to add my name to that petition. And yes, I am a proponent of the 2nd amendment and a gun owner. My support of the Sherrif's politics has nothing to do with my support of Ms. Snelling's petition. As a resident of EDC over two decades now, I am also deeply troubled by the very notion of our local law enforcement leader empowering himself to interpret the constitutionality of laws he gets paid to enforce

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 2:40 pm

    Glenn, The Nuremberg laws were deemed to be Constitutional in Germany. They were laws based on race and with them the Nazi’s obliterated the Jews. The Jews under the Nuremberg laws couldn't even own a pet cat. People got paid to enforce them. Be very careful what type of power you grant, the day may come when that power is used against you.

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  • Lib-busterMarch 20, 2013 - 2:48 pm

    Sheriff D’Agostini is NOT empowering himself to interpret the constitutionality of laws, just the opposite. He's trying to protect all the Constitutional rights we have left under the law. If the federal government wanted “Responsible Gun Ownership.” they could always begin by enforcing the existing laws already on the books that they totally ignore. Each and every person that signs this insane petition is just helping erode our 2nd Amendment and spitting on our Constitution.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 20, 2013 - 3:13 pm

    What the leftists fail to recognize is that five hundred plus Sheriff's across the country sent a warning about what they will not be party to, which is a new set of clearly unconstitutional gun laws. The leftists have been trying to defeat the 1st and 2nd Amendments for years with ideas like the "Fairness Doctrine" and 1994 "Assault Rifle Ban" both are opposite of what they purported to be. Every leftist form letter appears with either, "I support the 2nd Amendment", then reasons why it should be abolished, then, "I am a gun owner" and how they are alarmed at the Sheriff taking his oath of office seriously to uphold the Constitution, how dare he, etc. Like Rand Paul, how dare he do the same. I would urge all of these leftists to move to a county where the local Sheriff supports gun bans and leftists out to deny citizens their 2nd Amendment rights.

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  • RichardMarch 20, 2013 - 4:40 pm

    Frank, give us break, your number is available on several right wing blogs and is not acute. It includes a large number of sheriff posses and association that aren’t actually sheriffs. You’re just going to have to live with the fact that the Sheriff by all professional standards screwed-up and will forever be part of the ten percent who just don’t get it, ever. You’ll get over it Frank, just like you did the election

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  • DB SmithMarch 20, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    500 measly signatures for a petition to ask the Sheriff to do what he's already doing which is to enforce the laws. There are over 181,000 here in El Dorado County so you've got a long way to go. Maybe you should direct your petitions to the White House and ask them to enforce some laws. If you did that though the Bummer requires at least 100,000 signatures for a "We the People" petition before he responds. Seems like you've had some spare time to waste Ms. Smelling.

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  • Tom GibneyMarch 20, 2013 - 5:34 pm

    Be glad you still have a Sherrif Ms. Snelling. Be glad somebody is sticking up for "the Constitution" You know that document that our country was founded on? The one the Liberal establishment and all it's self rightous lawyers try to re interprit and re write to their satisfaction and ideals..? Yes we all talk of the slipery slope of course, Yet is not every house built upon a foundation? Should a foundation not be a solid ? When you chip away at that eventually lose your house. Granted I put things in simple terms but if you can't wrap your head around that...well I suppose like every other liberal your another useful idiot. (I love that term !)

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  • cookie65March 20, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    Richard, your claim of 10% certainly wasn't what the anti-2nd Amendment leftists in the senate counted when they shot down the ding-bat dianne feinstein's bill. They couldn't get even enough dim's to pass it thru comittee. Why do you suppose that is? Do you think perhaps they want to get re-elected and they know the 2nd Amendment is not something they want to challenge, especially after 4 years of obama and most of the nation knowing he only won because of outright vote fraud.

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  • Steven FrischMarch 21, 2013 - 7:01 am

    Kudos to Daniel for a very well constructed and cogent argument for why it is inherently dangerous for a Sheriff to take on the role of the judicial and legislative branch.

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 7:39 am

    10th Amendment: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 7:42 am


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  • RichardMarch 21, 2013 - 7:44 am

    The Sheriffs Department produced 16 of the highest pensioners ever in El Dorado County. Seems clear now Sheriff D'Agostini will exceed his predecessor’s pensions of $184,990.00 annually. His predecessor Fred Kollar, who was appointed interim sheriff after Neves retired early, left county employment with a $184,990 annual benefit. Former jail supervisor Robert Altmeyer retired with $141,286 a year. William Whealton, Steven Davis and Kevin House collect between $130,000 and $136,000 apiece. Martin J. Hackett, currently head of the Joint Powers Authority that operates the county’s Emergency Ambulance Services, left the Sheriff’s Department with an annual retirement package of $118,922.

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 7:48 am

    SHERIFFS FIRST: HERE - Locally-elected sheriffs are accountable to the people and are supposed to be the chief law enforcement officer of the county, bar none. This bill puts teeth into the expectation that federal agents must operate with the approval of the sheriff, or not at all. It also gives the local sheriff tools necessary to protect the rights of the people of his county. There are exceptions in the legislation for “hot pursuit”, U.S. customs and border patrol, corrupt sheriffs, and more.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 21, 2013 - 7:53 am

    Interesting that people are "concerned" about our local Sheriff, when the real story is five hundred plus Sheriff's across the country stated the same resolve. What I find ridiculous is that the "concerned" people will allow our immigration laws to be laughed at, the border to be unsecure, the drug gangs having a free hand to murder and pillage, and the few Sheriff's in Arizona who enforced the law were targeted by the Bummer's gang. Then criminal's were released onto the streets illegally in Arizona for a political stunt. Where is their outrage? It is far more dangerous to have our legitimate laws unenforced, as seen by the immigration debacle, the purposeful arming of the drug gangs by the AG and Bummer, then any concern expressed by letters by a group of five hundred Sheriff's telling the leftists they will uphold the Constitution, I wish the leftist's would read the document once in a while and perhaps learn something.

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 7:53 am

    10th AMENDMENT ISSUES HERE: • State Marijuana Laws • NDAA: Liberty Preservation • Obamacare • TSA: Travel Freedom • 2nd Amendment • Drones: Privacy Protection • REAL ID • Constitutional Tender • Hemp Freedom Act • Defend the Guard • Sheriffs First • Food Freedom Act • Intrastate Commerce

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 8:05 am

    Frank: Party political loyalty usurps Constitutional principles every time, substituting investment in WHO'S RIGHT for WHAT'S RIGHT. Constitutional principles and our rights as individuals have been snuffed out by the failure to recognize that distinction.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 21, 2013 - 8:15 am

    Immigration Reform at their supporters: Microsoft, Marriot, Boeing, Disney...The Partnership for a New American Economy brings together a bipartisan group of mayors from across the country and business leaders from all sectors of the economy and all 50 states to raise awareness of the economic benefits of sensible immigration reform.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 21, 2013 - 8:20 am

    Steve Finikiotis Founder and CEO, Osprey “Immigrants are the social capital that can help us collaborate with other countries and succeed in the global economy.”

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 21, 2013 - 8:50 am

    I have a question for gun debates. The New Economy is here. If you were in another country and talks of global economy with the United States is on the table--because we are a super power in the world--Do You think people from other countries would want our citizens armed? We as Americans have a "passion" that few have--and we will defend that passion with our lifes...think--do others want us armed? I would like to hear your thoughts. Fishing is being pushed through out the county--not hunting...I know many hunters who live up here...the question goes to you as well. Do Americans look more peaceful with a fishing pole on the cover of a magazine or a hunting rifle? Tourism.

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  • cookie65March 21, 2013 - 8:59 am

    Steven, any thoughts on how dangerous it is to allow the executive branch deside what parts of the Constitution to enforce and which parts to stomp on? We are a representative republic not a monarchy. A representative republic based entirely on individual liberty. Our rights are not assigned or eliminated by the executive branch. How is it that leftists cannot seem to grasp the simple concept of limited government? And they choose to ignore the history of what caused them to be free? It was people armed with the same weapons as the tyrannical government that was trying to oppress them. They only thing standing between you and inslavement is a well armed populace. It can be proved a hundred times over by history.

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  • DB SmithMarch 21, 2013 - 9:00 am

    What is it that people that don't understand or just turn a blind eye about the words "illegal immigration"? Personally I am 100% all in for "legal immigration". This country should have the most secure borders on the planet which includes air, land and sea. Illegal immigration steals valuable resources from the citizens that are here legally. Amnesty is just a pat on the back for illegals and will not solve the problem. The borders need to be secured with a well defined and enforced path to US citizenship. If you don't want to do that then please just get rid of the words "illegal immigration", call it "open immigration" and lets have at it.

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  • EvelynMarch 21, 2013 - 9:09 am

    DB Smith: We need to understand that the borders are open by design, not by accident. It serves a publicly unstated political purpose. Stealth changes are all around, the originators making it impossible for us to hold them accountable.

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  • cookie65March 21, 2013 - 9:10 am

    Frances, I don't lose any sleep over what other citizens would want. No one has ever been able to sell me on being a world citizen. It is this country that people cross 90 miles of open ocean in a bathtub to get to. I have something I share with all the downtrodden, disadvantaged victims in this country who believe that everyone else owes them a living. I tell them there are 6 billion people on this planet who would give anything to trade places with them. As far as tourism goes, as long as they stay away from places where the left has instituted gun control they will have nothing to fear.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMarch 21, 2013 - 9:21 am

    cookie65 side dont know my family do you--when Im being stubborn-my family calls me Francis--after that talking mule (lololol.) Thank you for your input. Fran

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 21, 2013 - 11:13 am

    To boil all of this down is fairly simple. The "concerned" citizens are giving the current gang in control of the White House a pass for choosing what laws to enforce and what laws to ignore based on political beliefs, including illegal immigration, failing to secure the border, voter ID Act, welfare fraud ID act, SSI Fraud ID act, Voter Intimidation Act, and these are just a few, while at the same time expressing their "concern" about five hundred Sheriff's writing letters stating they will be upholding the Constitution while the gang in Washington is doing now what they "fear" from the Sheriff's. Is misguided the word, or dangerous?

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  • cookie65March 21, 2013 - 11:58 am

    The world is upside down when those who seek to dismantle the Bill of Rights are the good guys and those who seek to defend the Bill of Rights are the bad guys. But that is leftism for ya. Always upside down.

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