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.
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