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Oconee County Sheriff, Vocal About Support of Second Amendment, Pulls Business from Buford Gun Shop

Sheriff Scott Berry tells Fox 5 News he disagrees with Dana Safety Supply's recent decision to sell semi-automatic, self-loading rifles only to law enforcement and no longer to the general public.

Oconee County, Ga. Sheriff Scott Berry has been speaking out in recent weeks about the issue of gun control, and his interpretation and support of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

According to a post dated Jan. 3 on the blog Guns Save Lives, Berry sent an email to a Buford gun shop stating he no longer intends for the Oconee County Sheriff's Office to conduct business with Dana Safety Supply because the company recently revised its policy to no longer sell semi-automatic rifles to non-law enforcement individuals.

The company has locations in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

In an interview with Fox 5 Atlanta News Thursday, Berry offered an explanation.

"If they chose not to sell to civilians, law-abiding civilians, then I can choose not to buy from them -- that's all I was trying to say," he told the television station.

The former president of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association also wrote about the Second Amendment and gun control in a column that appeared in Thursday's edition of The Oconee Enterprise newspaper.

"Let me make sure that my position on any further attempt by the State or Federal Government to ban certain firearms based on feature or ammunition magazines or capacity of ammunition is crystal clear," he wrote.  "I am 100 percent totally opposed to any type of knee jerk reaction where yet again this country tries to solve a problem by 'banning' inanimate objects because they may be used by the mentally ill for the purpose of harm."

He continued, "I resent politicians who try to make themselves feel better by passing legislation that does nothing to deal with armed criminals with guns," adding that limiting firearms purchasing options for law-abiding citizens "makes no difference to the criminal element."

Furthermore, the government has "failed miserably" to address mental health, Berry stated.

He concluded by writing, "The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution has nothing to do with target shooting, hunting, collecting or anything of the sort. It was drafted to guarantee that Americans could defend themselves not only from criminals but from an oppressive government."

What do you think about Sheriff Scott Berry's comments regarding the Second Amendment and gun control?

The column was a follow-up to another that appeared in the Dec. 20 edition of the weekly newspaper in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. in which he wrote, "The media has cast blame to everything from mental health failures to guns to violent video games.  The truth is that life is not that simple.  I have dealt with people for my entire adult life who make decisions that defy any hope of reason or common sense, and this case in Newtown is no different.  Sometimes you have to accept that there truly is evil in the world, and the evil can manifest itself in the body of a 20 year old that is bound and determined to kill defenseless victims."

He added that children have a greater risk of harm on their way to and from school than when they're inside.

"Millions of kids go to school every day in a safe and caring enviornment," he wrote.  "That is especially true in Oconee County."

Watkinsville resident Lee Morgan in a letter to the editor that appeared in this week's edition of The Oconee Enterprise expressed a much different view.

"To suggest that our children are safe simply because statistically they are more likely to be injured or killed in an automobile accident is specious reasoning," Morgan wrote. "The fact is we have an epidemic in this country of guns and gun violence unparalleled in the developed world...The time has come for reasonable people to stand up to the gun manufacturers and their shill, the NRA."

In addition to stating his views through the various media outlets, Berry has been outspoken on his personal Facebook page.

"I will be keeping up with legislative events as they unfold...but my position is clear...any attempt to dilute the ability of law abiding citizens to protect their families will be vigorously opposed...period," he wrote on Dec. 28.

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You might also be interested in reading:

  • Does the Media Have the Responsibility and Right to Publish the Names of Gun Owners?
  • NRA Calls for 'Armed Security' Around Schools
  • Is Mental Health the Real Issue That Needs to Be Addressed After Mass Shootings?
  • Opinion- It's Time to Ban Semiautomatic Weapons
  • Oconee County Schools Statement on School Safety and Parent Resource
teresa January 04, 2013 at 02:03 PM
wish more of our leaders had balls like this
Trey Downs January 04, 2013 at 08:52 PM
I actually have something to agree with Sheriff Berry on [I actually probably agree with him on more, but who's counting]. I am also 100% againts the control of firearms under any circumstamces. Please remember one thing: The folks in Sandy Hook live in a place almost identical to Oconee and they never thought anything like that would ever happen to them.
Sue B. Truluck January 04, 2013 at 11:14 PM
I agree with your artical on gun control. You said it all.
Racer X January 05, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Teresa hit the nail on the head.
Desiree Aquino January 05, 2013 at 03:09 PM
I personally am thankful to have a sheriff that is willing to stand up for my rights as an american! My fiance is a disabled war veteran and to think that he fought so that I could not protect myself in my own home leaves me with more than a little discomfort
Gene Mobley January 05, 2013 at 03:27 PM
Sheriff Berry has A LOT of unspoken support on this one. The 2nd amendment is absolutely critical to our continued freedom. Even a casual read of history reveals the slow insidious process evil takes in destroying good. It is not too late for one to obtain factual, historical evidence that reveals a true macro view of what is happening to our increasingly apathetic American populace. As we continue listening to a well oiled, manipulative mainstream media and ignoring the facts in front of us, a Federally funded effort is underway to totally disrupt our society and pave the way for martial law. This is a Federal, centralized effort made possible by a citizenry that hopes for the best and looks for scapegoats. There may come a time, and expect it sooner than later, that simple voicing of dissent such as this will be censored and all you will read is how the government is doing all it can to "protect" us. I say it's time we do something as a citizenry to protect our children and their children's future. The Tenth Amendment gives us the right as a sovereign State to nullify any egregious Federal law and to bear responsibility for upholding the Constitution of these United States. I'm proud to be one who believes in the wisdom of our forefathers and I'm hopeful the silent "Resistance" will continue preparing to stand up and stand strong when the time comes. We may disagree on politics, but PLEASE, PLEASE, let us stand together for freedom.
Alicia Pasley Ross January 05, 2013 at 04:12 PM
I agree. Kudos for speaking out .
Fit.to.be.tied January 06, 2013 at 04:02 AM
Thank you for being a constitutional sheriff. God bless you.
Melissa landers January 06, 2013 at 06:00 PM
What are you people talking about? Please let me know where it says in the 2nd Amendment that people should have the right to bear semi-automatic machine guns. And to what purpose? It is a social problem when people love and are concerned about their guns and weapons more than they are about the welfare of children and families.
Laura January 06, 2013 at 08:27 PM
Well, Melissa, consider the fact that back when the Constitution was written, the most technologically superior weapons available were probably muskets. The militia/military/government had muskets. The citizens had the right to be as well-equipped as the government. So the words "semi-automatic machine guns" would be right next to the word "muskets" in the Constitution. And those people who want their right to bear arms protected are probably VERY concerned about the welfare of their children and families...consider the woman in Walton Co. who just days ago used a gun to shoot an intruder, thus protecting her children who were huddled behind her in the closet when the intruder opened the door to said closet.
the old person January 06, 2013 at 10:31 PM
TY!! Sheriff TY!!!, I had just emails Sheriff Mack (look him up)asking if there were ANY sheriffs in GA that hold to his mind set, I thank you and you are a man standing for the people, that this for you who think he is wrong, he too has a voice.. this is how he is supposed to do his job, his job is to protect Our rights even from the highest authority, will be looking at a place to live close to this sheriff who is a person of justice for the regular man/woman, have you guys forgot about Kennesaw...??? any one remember??? oh and look at England...and here soon to be Amerika our "Rulers" are now trying to take this away rights from you ---the 2nd, next you will have no voice ---then 1st will be gone so maybe we need to stop selling n spoons as people are dying from using them
Eric Schafnitz January 07, 2013 at 08:55 PM
There is no such thing as "semi-automatic machine guns". Those terms are mutually exclusive. The people of the day had the same guns as the military because the military was the people, the intent of the writers was that the citizens could defend against a tyrannical government.
Jchamonix January 08, 2013 at 03:44 AM
He's just a politically savvy guy pandering to his support base. With the sophisticated weapons at our government's disposal, the guns of individual Americans would mean NOTHING if that government turned against the citizens.
Jchamonix January 08, 2013 at 04:04 AM
I support the 2nd amendment, but do not agree that just anyone should be able to purchase a semi-automatic weapon. "Law abiding citizens" who have a problem with having background checks in order to purchase firearms are paranoid fools. And NO ONE has the right to sell anything they want to whomever they want - you all would scream bloody murder if a Muslim was allowed to buy large amounts of dynamite, fuses and fuel! Obviously, Sheriff Barry is a VERY politically savvy guy - he knows EXACTLY who to pander to and how to get everyone's attention - buying into it hook, line and sinker is pathetic. Owners of semi-automatic guns have done a LOUSY job of keeping those guns out of the hands of homicidal, evil maniacs - so if you want to keep them, start coming up with better ways to protect the innocent from the carnage caused when semi-automatic weapons make it into the hands of evil, depraved monsters. You can't put armed guards EVERYWHERE - that is NOT a solution. Those who truly believe that people armed with semi-automatic weapons could really protect themselves if our government turned against us are total fools - our military has weapons that could take out entire cities from miles away, where no answering fire from semi-automatic weapons could ever begin to reach them. Real, patriotic Americans do NOT say that the desires of a county sheriff should trump those of our federal government - did you learn absolutely NOTHING from the Civil War?
Jchamonix January 08, 2013 at 06:51 AM
Laura and Eric, The woman in Walton who shot the intruder did it with a .38. Despite being terrified, she shot the crow-bar wielding intruder multiple times with only a .38, clearly not needing to use a semi-automatic weapon capable of killing scores of people in only mere seconds, in order to protect herself and her family. In this day and age, it is virtually impossible for the citizenry to be "... as well equipped as the government", due to our government/military's extremely sophisticated and technologically advanced weapons which are capable of killing large masses of people from great distances. The average citizen could not afford to purchase, much less know how to use most of those weapons without extensive training, so the claim that ownership of semi-automatic weapons is necessary for protecting one's life is actually moot. The mere suggestion that a band of civilians armed 'only' with semi-automatic weapons could go up against and defeat the current military with it's 21st century weapons like 30,000 lb. bombs, drones and laser-guided missiles carrying nuclear warheads, is patently absurd. Dream on, boys. A semi-automatic does NOT make weekend warriors into heroes.
Mark Zeilenga January 08, 2013 at 03:59 PM
+1 for Sheriff Berry. Jchamonix: The women had a 5/6 shot revolver which she emptied into the intruder. Good for her. However, what if there had been two intruders, which is not totally uncommon? Now she sits with an empty gun and a very mad 2nd criminal who may be very angry you just killed his brother/father/uncle/cousin/friend. Limiting how many rounds law abiding citizens have in their firearms doesn't make any sense. Will the criminals also abide by that rule? Of course not. I want to be armed more heavily than my opponent. That is how you come out on top. Of course, I also hope that I NEVER have to encounter such a situation. Having a defensive firearms (of any sort) is like having an insurance policy. You hope you never need it, but if you do you have one. And just like insurance, you buy what you need. If you don't care about your 10yr old car if it gets totalled, you buy liability only. If you don't care if multiple intruders invade your home to pillage your family, you don't buy a gun or maybe just a little one because it's not high on your priority list. Protecting my family is high on my list, therefore I prepare accordingly.
Jchamonix January 08, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Your hypothetical "second intruder" could also be stopped if the shooter 'shares' a full clip of hollow points between them. I want to thank you for your civil, thoughtful reply. This is the kind of dialogue that people on both sides of the argument need to engage in to find solutions to the problem, instead of extremists 'digging in' and ranting like lunatics at each other. They won't give even an inch in order to find a compromise that works for EVERYONE. I believe that for every 'right' we have, there is an equal responsibility that goes along with it. Responsible gun ownership means much more than practicing firearm safety. It also means doing everything possible to insure that ALL guns are kept out of the hands of homicidal maniacs. I'm for 'people control', not 'gun control'. I believe that in order to be allowed to buy semi-automatics, a person must have a special license that they can only get by taking a specialized gun course and passing a psychological screening. The license would allow them to buy any kind of gun they desire, without having to register it. Selling or loaning semi-automatic weapons to anyone without one of those licenses would be illegal and anyone caught in possession of semi-automatics without having that license would receive a mandatory jail sentence. Concerns over the government confiscating weapons would be alleviated, because having a 'license' to buy or possess semi-automatics wouldn't actually mean that someone had any.
Crackerjackwizard January 21, 2013 at 08:42 AM
Jchamonix, your completely right armed guards everywhere isn't a solution. For they can't keep an eye on everyone everywhere and the money to pay them, were would that come from. I got it! We should arm every stable minded person (21 and older) in America with a semi-automatic weapon, and make it minatory for them to carry it. Sort of like a drivers license. It's ingenious, see every one will be their own guard protecting them self's and... wait for it, the others around them. It would stimulate the economy and no one would be stupid enough to break in a house or go on a killing spree knowing that every single person in america is aiming their weapons at them first. I know, I know I'm smart. In case you haven't notice I was being sarcastic, I don't agree with you. For you see there are two different kinds of dogs in this world. The first dog running free, trading and playing nicely with others on their schedule soaking up the light of freedom, and having the teeth to defend it self. And the second dog being chained beaten down. Forced to eat out of its' master's hand, not able to ever bite back. I would rather be a true patriot, knowing that I tried to stand up against a unjust law. So that I could still enjoy what I'm doing right now, not having to fear on what I'm saying, for without the 2 amendment the rest CAN NOT EXIST WITH OUT IT. Now I ask you Jchamonix and anyone reading this, what kind of of dog are you? Did you learn NOTHING from the Revolutionary war

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