My turn: A petition for the sheriff

By From page A4 | March 20, 2013

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.

Pat Snelling

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