Local officials weigh in on gun control issue

Following last week's carnage at a Connecticut elementary school -- where a man used an assault rifle to blast his way into the building and gun down 20 children and six adults -- the Obama administration has already placed the gun debate front and center.
Emil Whitis
Dec 21, 2012

So far, the conversation seems to circle around three points: assault weapons; high-capacity magazines; and more extensive background checks for hopeful gun owners.

The Register asked a number of local law enforcement leaders to weigh in, specifically on these three issues.

Here are the responses on assault rifles. For what the officials said on magazine capacity and background checks, pick up a copy of Friday's Register.

Perkins Police Chief Ken Klamar
Assault Rifles: "I can't say banning them completely would be the answer. It's kind of a knee-jerk reaction. These weapons have been around now for decades and now it's a matter of playing catchup. Who could say that those incidents would have ended differently if they had a pistol or shotgun?"

Vermilion Police Chief Chris Hartung
Assault Rifles: "We tried it in 1994 and I don't think there's any empirical data that showed it worked. There are 300 million guns in the country and it took 200 years to put them there. They're not going away overnight. I could teach you how to build an AR-15 from spare parts in 30 minutes. Talk of banning assault rifles is more political grandstanding than it is an effective response."

Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth
Assault Weapons: "All guns in irresponsible hands can kill people. You can have somebody with a single-shot .22-caliber rifle, and if their mindset is to kill somebody, they're going to kill somebody. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible."

Huron Police Chief Robert Lippert
Assault Rifles:"Personally, I'm not in favor of a total ban on assault rifles."

Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick
Assault Rifles: "I'm not completely against restrictions on assault rifles. If putting a ban on assault rifles were the one thing that could save the lives of these murder victims, then it needs to be done. But if it's a band-aid or some sort of political move, then it's a bad move."

Norwalk police Chief Dave Light
Assault Rifles:"If I could click my heels together three times and make all the handguns and weapons just disappear, that would be great. The problem is we have millions and millions and millions of guns in our country. It's our society. It's like everything else -- unless they put some thought into it and carefully have some gun experts involved and do it the right way, there are so many loopholes and ways around everything."

Sandusky assistant police Chief John Orzech
Assault Rifles: "I can't see any good that comes out of owning assault rifles. I think (someone) could do just as much damage with the weapons (they) have. As far as handguns and shotguns go, that's what our constitution is founded on. Most people who have guns are responsible."



The guns are not the real problem. If someone is hell bent on killing someone, they will use whatever means they have available. I think people are forgetting the mental illness component in most of these shootings and the lack of resources available to deal with people that have mental illness.




Putting a ban on so called "assualt" weapons is just one of those feel good terms that will make people feel all warm a fuzzy inside and is a knee jerk reaction to a tragedy that took the lives of some many innocent children. Having a gun ban on any kind of firearm is not going to stop someone with the mind to kill someone with a gun whether it is a semi, single or pump action firearm. You want gun control, send in the military into the cities across this nation and seize all of the illegal firearms in the possesion of criminals first then maybe a discussion on gun control could be meaningful. A few other people in history liked gun control. Hitler, Stalin, and Castro just to name a few. I am reminded of a quote by Isoroku Yamamoto who said " I would never invade the United States. There would be a gun behind every blade of grass."

Otis B. Driftwood


You fail.

Hitler had no intention of preventing law-abiding Germans from keeping or bearing arms. German firearms legislation under Hitler was far from banning private ownership and actually facilitated the keeping and bearing of arms by German citizens.

Gun control worked in Cuba because cubans were just to poor to buy guns.

Just Thinkin

I see SANDUSKY and NORWALK have two barney fife types


"Most Mass Murderers Aren't Actually Mentally Ill":

"Actually, statistically mass murderers possess some common characteristics.

The most common characteristics are social isolation, introversion, withdrawal and a relative deficit in social skills and relationships.

At the same time, signs of paranoia can also be observed. These people often believe that people are after them, bullying them or ignoring them."


So who again are authorities supposed to be looking for?


@Just Not Thinkin...You must be Otis the Drunk then...


If you look at the majority of the comments from our area's esteemed law enforcement they indicate that the vast majority of people are responsible gun owners. While the events at Sandy Hook, Colorado Theater, Virginia Tech, and Columbine are horrific and inexcusable they stem from one common thread. An unstable youth or set of youth that display anti-social, paranoid delusions. The only way to fix the situation is to place more emphasis on mental health and social development. It must be a combination of efforts from local health services, law enforcement and most importantly parents. People must learn to be honest with themselves regarding the mental stability of their children. Parents must be open and realistic about their children's interactions with the world. If they show signs of antisocial behavior they need to seek help from the right source. Not shrug their shoulders and say "Oh, that's just John. He's a quiet kid." It is irresponsible to the child and now we are seeing it is irresponsible to the community. To put it in perspective in 2010 there were over 10,000 DUI related deaths. If we carried the same "fix" over to that social issue we would either be talking about banning drinking or banning driving. I think we can all appreciate that a knee jerk reaction usually fails to work as it is planned. Be sensible and focus on the problem not the instrument. You'll save more people and more money that way.


I just don't agree that because a person is quiet and not a "social butterfly" that makes them a candidate for concern about his/her mental stability.


I would suggest we start by screening this comment section.


I think it goes further than just the "quiet type", much further. These kids have few to no friends. They tend to spend all their time alone. They seem to enjoy their own company to that of sharing even the smallest of thoughts with anyone in their own family.

They have a tendency to stay in the shadows at family reunions or social events. They don't socialize with anyone and tend to stay in their own rooms more than anything else. They like video games that are wild and mostly on the "edge" type of things that are more aggressive than they are. It is an outlet of their feelings (so says the literature I have been reading this week). Most parents think their kids will grow out of it, but they don't. So they ignore it. THOSE ARE THE WARNING SIGNS.

Take heed. If your kid is doing this, watch him or her. Start talking to them. If you cannot draw them out, get help for them. They need it.

You are right, smart, it isn't the weapon in their hand as much as the weapon on their shoulders. The next time, it may be a bomb someone uses, and God help us all. The directions for that any kid can find online and make it with stuff right out of your kitchen.

Banning the assault rifles is my idea of a good idea until I started reading about the mental health questions at hand. Then I found out you couldn't stop these kids who do this no matter what they used. Not unless you got them before they went off just like the guns they use. Its pointless.


There are laws about NOT carrying a weapon at a school.....that law did NOT stop this....why would ANOTHER law stop it? This is EVIL. You cannot stop EVIL with a ban or a new law.


Speaking of DUI:

Many new vehicles contain black boxes; eventually all will.

As they become more sophisticated, they could be used to detect texting, drunk driving, etc.

If OnStar can unlock your car remotely, there's potentially no limit to what can be done with these systems.



You bring up a great point. Toyota was developing a car that could determine a persons alcohol level through a specialized steering wheel. They indefinitely shelved the project based on the reports from their marketing and sales team. This team reported to the designers that the US market would not appreciate a car telling them whether or not they were capable of driving. The technology exists and it "might" be put into place but there has to be a market for it.


@ SmartCapitalist:

If one had a teenage son or daughter and could save a few bucks on ins. - THAT would be the incentive.


Assault weapons need to be regulated better but not necessarily banned. I just don't see why a regular "law abiding" citizen needs one. It's purpose is to mass kill. Regardless of what was intended when the 2nd amendment was written, fact is you have the right to bear arms. I don't subscribe to the mental illness factor either. Most murderers are not mentally ill so that's just not the cause. There is no easy answer if there is an answer at all.

The Bizness

I dont really get why anyone needs an assult weapon either, I have heard people saying that violent crimes are stopped when a person shows their hand gun....ok let's keep it at those kind of weapons not at military grade machine guns, and automatics.


Machine guns are automatics and they have been banned since the 60's. To buy a fully automatic there are so many laws and hoops to jump through it isnt funny, Let alone the extra 600 bucks to license just that weapon. (Unless you have a actual sellers license which is a struggle to get and cost extra per year just to have those weapons)

Dr. Information

I have 2.... .22LR guns. Both semi automatic. But because one has a wood stock and looks like a regular gun its not deemed an Assault Rifle. My other .22 is the same gun, same caliber, same semi automatic firing mechanism, same 10 round clip as my other gun, but because it has a military look to it, its called an AR (assault rifle). Makes absolutely NO SENSE.

Also handguns at a close range are just as effective, just as deadly and can be reloaded even faster.....AND lets not forget they can be concealed easier as well.

So whats next...attack handguns?


I disagree with the part about mental illness. Do you think a sane person would walk into a school filled with children and start pulling the trigger? I think it takes one sick son of a gun to do what he did, up close and personal on some of those kids. No, I disagree. I think this guy, like so many before him, had his brain-wires crossed. The problem with these people is they shoot themselves and leave before answers to the burning questions are ever obtained. All the world wants to know is WHY?


I've been told by many local cops they're glad people CCW, they can't be everywhere at once, nice to see it in print.


Could you shoot another human being in public? I don't know that I could. I could if they were in my house but not out in public. I just don't know if I could live with myself taking another's life. I guess it would depend on the situation, but then again?


if i needed to shoot someone in public to save my life, or someone else's life, then yeah, no questions asked. After the fact would suck, but you shouldn't carry if you're not prepared to do the deed if that's what it comes too, that goes for Civilians and LEO


The Second Amendment doesn't guarantee access to any and all "arms" just as the First Amendment doesn't give people the right to say anything whenever they want...

Doubt me, go scream "fire" in a movie theater or "bomb" in an airport.

If your argument is that passing laws against assault weapons doesn't mean people won't get them anyway...then why pass laws against rape or murder? They're going to happen anyway....so what's the point?
If your argument is that making them illegal just means only the murderers and the psychopaths will have them...then why, in most of the countries with much stricter gun regulations, aren't armed psychopaths taking over these nations as they face unarmed civilians?

If your argument is that a killer will kill no matter what, then why aren't there mass stabbings? Mass murders by rock? Mass death by baseball bat?

Seems logic would dictate that mental health, mixed with an ease of access to dangerous weapons, is what makes a killer.

Not everyone with access to a gun will kill, nor is everyone who suffers from mental health issues a killer, but when you mix the two, it increases the odds.

I'm not advocating the ban of handguns or hunting rifles, but you're ignorant if you feel civilians need access to military grade assault weapons and the ease of access to these weapons has nothing to do with these mass murders like we've seen in Connecticut and Colorado.


Can you point out in the constitution where it states what kind of weapons should be allowed? The insurance against a abusive centralized government is in the hands of the citizens, Not as some would believe, Through trust of the words of our leaders.


Randy, would you please voluntarily turn in all your guns?


Have you ever shot a assault rifle?? I'm betting not, military has fully automatic weapons. The rifles sold to civilians are semi-automatic. Big difference.

sandtown born a...

They throw the Assult rifle TITLE to add wow factor and cloud the minds of the truth. Nothing more than a dressed up semi auto rifle, Ive had a semi auto 22 since my 13th birthday to squirell hunt with my father. A opinion without fact is just that an Opinion


No matter what you want to call it, it shoots bullets out faster than a hand gun, correct? If that is the case, why do you need to have something like that? Because squirrels run fast?

The gun this guy used, was it the same as what you had? I just wondered? Why would someone need something like that in their lives and why with a clip that held that many rounds? It makes my mind spin to think someone needed something like that. Sounds like pure fear to me, but of what?


You ma'am obviously have no idea as to what you're talking about and should stop while you still have a bit of dignity... whether its a semi-auto hand gun or a semi-auto riffle the bullets come out at the same pace. Fully autos are pretty much impossible to own legally already... so your comment is not only false, it clearly shows your ignorance of the subject matter. Clip size doesn't matter... if they reduced it down to 5 round clips the average exchange time to drop a. Lip and reload is less than 3 seconds... mute point number 2. And lastly, if you have to ask so many questions on the subject matter you probably ly shouldn't be forming an opinion just yet.