Douglas County Sheriff Phil Miller has written letters to federal and state government officials voicing disgust for the use of the events at Sandy Hook to promote gun control.
Miller posted a message on his Facebook page Thursday night after receiving questions from several citizens asking about his stance on gun control. He has written letters to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, congressmen and the state delegation.
“The letters voiced my disgust for the use of the events at Sandy Hook to promote gun control legislation that I believe would violate mine and your Second Amendment rights,” Miller’s post reads. “I have further talked to state legislators who authored state bills that would do the same.”
Miller is a member of the Georgia Sheriff’s Association Legislative Committee, which is meeting with legislators in an attempt to stop bills believed to be a violation of the Constitution before they are presented.
“I will fight in every way that I know how to make sure that our rights as citizens are not violated by the federal government or our state government,” he said.
Several sheriff’s around the country, including metro Atlanta, have spoken out against Obama’s executive orders for tighter gun restrictions. One of the measures would restore a ban on military-style assault weapons and a 10-round limit for magazines. Another would require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun.
Miller admitted Friday that it is ultimately up to the courts to decide what’s constitutional.
“But I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure that the constitution is not violated by anybody,” he said. “If I felt in my heart that a law was an improper law and an illegal law and one that violated the constitutional rights of the people, I would have a problem enforcing it.”
Miller believes it would be difficult to pass any state legislation that people would consider a violation of the Second Amendment.
“The state legislature is made up more of Republicans and conservatives,” he said. “I think in Georgia, we’re going to be able to be successful in not having gun laws passed that the people of Georgia would think would be unconstitutional or violate the Second Amendment.”
District 67 State Rep. Micah Gravley “wholeheartedly” supports Miller and has gone to his office multiple times to talk about several pieces of legislation.
“I carry everywhere I go,” Gravley said as he showed his Georgia Weapons Carry license during an interview Friday at the Bankhead Diner. “I have — it’s right here, not tucked away — my Georgia Weapons Carry (card) so I am a licensed, law-abiding citizen who has a right to keep and bear arms, and I don’t think that the criminal acts of a few warrant the infringement on the rights of law abiding citizens to protect themselves. Statistics prove when you take the guns out of law-abiding citizens’ hands, crime skyrockets. Even Piers Morgan cannot refute that.”
Sen. Donzella James has already prefiled legislation that involves the banning of assault weapons. James stressed the need to get input from local law enforcement before filing legislation related to gun control.
“I listen to the sheriffs and the chiefs of police because these are the people who have to enact the law,” James said. “We can put something on paper, but they have to enact it. I want to hear from them so I’m inviting all of them to come be on a panel on Feb. 13 at the Capitol.”
Participants on the panel will talk about gun violence.
“We’re going to talk about it then I might withdraw my legislation or I might substitute it with something,” James said. “But my legislation is not about stopping your Second Amendment rights to own a gun. It’s stopping assault weapons that only the military use.”
She wants to make clear that she isn’t trying to take away anyone’s right. She only wants to protect people.
“If we don’t pass something this year, maybe we can pass something next year just to deter those who want to do harm on our children and on us adults,” James said. “We have to protect everyone.”