Montana News

Jan 28, 2013 12:46 PM by MTN News

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff weighs in on gun debate

HELENA - President Obama last week laid out a comprehensive package for reducing gun violence in America, a multi-part plan he says will not only "help prevent mass shootings" but also to "reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country."

Among the initiatives outlined in Mr. Obama's plan include universal background checks for gun sales, the reinstatement and strengthening of the assault weapons ban, capping ammunition magazines to a 10-round limit, banning armor-piercing ammunition, providing schools with resource officers and school counselors, and ensuring that health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.

Several sheriffs in Montana, including in Cascade, Lake and Sanders counties, have reacted to the proposed new guidelines.

Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says since the President signed the executive orders, many county residents want to know where he stands.

Though no federal mandate has been ordered, Dutton says he will not take away guns from anyone who is law abiding and he doesn't support confiscation of any guns.

"If you have used a gun in the commission of what would consitutue a crime, yes, we will be there and our citizens expect us to do that, to keep them safe, so it is not an 'Olly oxen free' about using a gun for anything, but I do believe that weapons do keep a free society," Sheriff Dutton said.

Dutton says he'd like to see more aid for school resource officers and more money allocated to deal with mental health issues.

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