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."



If we allow the government to get rid of our firearms then why don't we let them get rid of tobacco, cars, ladders, hammers, nailguns, bears, rabid dogs, ex girlfriends and reality TV, or anything else that might cause us harm? Focusing all the attention from the recent events on the "tools" used to carry out the attacks is like focusing souly on the symptoms of a disease instead of cause of the disease. A gun at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force.


Reading the comments, I concluded that half the commentators don't know what they're talking about but feel the urge to comment. (1) the general population cannot own "assault rifles". That is a term created by the anti-gun crowd and dutyfully adopted by the anti media. Civilians can only own semi-auto (one trigger pull, one shot fired). You cannot fire 10 shots from an AR-15 any faster than you can from a semi-auto handgun. Semi does not mean auto. (2) Because they're black and intimidating to some does not make them dangerous. Why do you think that over the years police depts changed to black uniforms? Because they're intimidating! And yet, all police wearing black are not bad people.


When there is a gun pointed at me or someone else's life is threatened & bullets are flying with no authorities around, I would much rather have someone who is carrying and has had 12hrs of training than no hope of living through it. 99% or more of CCW holders have no desire to play vigilante. They just want to even the odds for living should the situation occur and it is occurring more often. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.




Following the example set by the NRA, Alcoholics Anonymous will now suggest more whiskey to cure alcoholism...


Under the NRA plan to curb slaughter, every gun sale will include a bible.

BW1's picture

"If I could click my heels together three times and make all the handguns and weapons just disappear, that would be great."

So, Chief, would that include the GOVERNMENT'S guns?


I thought not. In that case, forget it. See, that's what the 2nd Amendment is really all about - not allowing the government a monopoly on the means of effective force.


Gee, I guess that means we should legalize hand grenades, artillery, and even nuclear weapons !!!


Thats only legal to sell to other nations bent on killing people or drug cartels.


What it really boils down to is the religious right wing wacko's are in a hurry to end the world anyway they can !!!!


Kneejerk reactions to tragedys usually play into the hands of those who want more power. Think of all the great leftwing wacko's accomplishments. You had Stalin, Mao,Che,Pol Pot,Castro ect ect. They surely didnt want the world to end, They just wanted to kill everyone.


yes, you've proven you can name past leaders of nations, but let's try to at least know what you're talking about before you try to drag someone's name through the mud... Che and Castro didn't want to kill everyone, it was quite the opposite. they tried to handle things civilly, and the government resisted. those 2 men led a revolution of the people, by the people, and for the people... they took down a tyrannical dictator. yes, they may have replaced it with communism, but it was better than what they had before.. and really... with all of the trade embargo's sanctioned against them for decades now they seem to be doing quite well considering the world was, and still seems to be, against them.


"Executions? Certainly, we execute! And we will continue executing as long as it is necessary!" Che.
They didnt want to kill everyone, Just those that disagreed with his ideology. So replacing a bad government with another is good for you? Defending a known murderer is good for you as well? Please, Defending the death totals for the leftist movement is somewhat idiotic. Over 130 million dead in one century due to that ideology.Che doesn need me to drag his name through the mud, He is a murderer, He has did that for me, He has put his name up there with Stalin (His hero) and Mao.
“What we affirm is that we must proceed along the path of liberation even if this costs millions of atomic victims.” Che.
Then again he might have wanted to kill everyone.


how many british did george washington have to kill before we were liberated from england? how many people has george bush killed with his misinformed bombings? how many innocents dies when the us government was informed about the lustentainia and pearl harbor? we all defend murderers under you're ideology. call one an execution and another casualties of war, doesn't make a difference... what makes a difference is in the cuban revolution the people of that nation were behind the change, unlike most of what the united states has stuck it's nose in. without the help of the cubans themselves they would have never succeeded. so explain to me how a murderous despot could attain the help of thousands os locals if he was going around killing people all willy nilly for no reason?

and those executions that you took the quote from were for people that had committed crimes, not innocents. something the states seem to be having a problem with when even murderers are spared these days.


When your revolution starts off with book burnings, arrest of those who wrote the books and then their executions, I would consider that not a revolution worth anything. You are right in a way, Stalin, Mao and the rest would have never came to power either without the help of the masses. Their Ideology however does set them apart from the rest of the worlds revolutionarys. The pure numbers of deaths under that Ideology staggers the imagination were not committed during war, They were committed on their own populations NOT those they were fighting against. They were all leftist bent on domination of the country they were proposing to "Save" THAT is the common denominator between them. Washington revolted to create a country with individual freedoms,(He quit killing and fighting at the end of the war itself) The leftist fought for pure power over a mass of "useful idiots" That they cared nothing about, To put them in the same catagory is not even close historically speaking.


And the so called progressive left want to give it all away to anyone or any nation. They just say "be nice" while the other people and countries laugh at them!


What the NRA is trying to do is even out the duality of guns... for people that didn't understand that, they're trying to keep the number of guns in the hands of the people that can do good with them even with the number of people that will choose to use guns to harm others. just because something is against the law that doesn't mean it will stop anyone from doing it... our failed war on drugs is the most prime example of that flawed ideology. most of the drugs available have been illegal for decades now... not just 1 or 2, but some for more tan 50 years, and yet, they are just as prolific today as they were the day they were banned... so please tell me how this mentality is going to do any good against guns? the only thing banning guns will do is make things worse. in every massacre that has happened in the past decade they've all happened in gun free designated zones... which means the culprits knew that they didn't have to worry about return fire... so you think it's a coincidence that it happens this way? do you think that it's luck that these mass shootings don't happen right out side of a police station or a firearms store? making gun illegal is just giving criminals the keys to the kingdom. if someone already isn't worried about spending time in jail when they are going to commit a crime, how is adding jail time making their punishment any worse? premeditated murder already carries the maximum penalty you can hand out to someone, so how is tacking on time for doing it with a gun going to effect the person plotting to kill someone?

the truth of the matter is this. the only people seeking to regulate or ban guns are those that have never been in a position where they've felt they've needed one. they aren't hunters nor have they ever felt threatened a day in their lives. they've never been in a situation where having a gun on hand could have made a difference...

the average police response time when a crises occurs is 6 - 10 minutes. thats 6 - 10 minutes of someone doing what ever they please before they have to worry about anything. the average time it takes for someone with a CCW to draw their weapon and put down an assailant is a split second... which one would you rather have?

and let's keep in mind folks that not all crimes are committed with a gun... on septemper 11th 6 men killed thousands of people in just a few minutes and the only weapons they used to kick things off were box cutters... so please tell me how guns are always the biggest threat.


HOW about, GROUND sensors? How about PAID guards where the Security can't be dangled over the publics head over teachers raises. HOW about like they have at Divis Bessie FENCE is sencors, HOW about CAMERAS. LETS be LEADERS here for once.

Just Thinkin

@ Train, I dont play kiddie word games GROW-UP, I stated my gripe in a polite manner, Guns are not the problem laws not used, and our video game culture is. These cops think gun control works, they need to be looking at these murderess video games that make killing fun and cold blooded.And our leader's that turn a blind eye. we have laws and safe guards use them.Get rid of plea bargains and stop the slapping of hands. also make jail time hurt no fun and games .so Train when you can speak as a person with something to say then I'll listen, Until then go and try to bully someone who can be insulted because frankly my dear I don't give a care. later you childish little person, Thanks for the lol I needed that


(and our video game culture is)
I found it sad how that boy in CT could drop four rounds in his moms head without blinking, that had to be very messy, then move on to his next mission unaffected by what he did and saw. Desensitized by the games???

Dr. Information

@2cents. I think that is a very small fraction of the problem. Every day millions upon millions of young boys are playing violent games, 99.9999999999% of them will never shoot anyone or anything REAL in their life. I do however think that violent games need to be monitored a bit better by parents. Kids at 8-13 years old have no business playing really violent games.


Banning assault weapons; that will surely reduce crime seeing that they are used in just 1/5th of all crimes. Feinstein and her minions want to ban evil looking rifles, she couldn’t even tell a reporter what a heat shield was.

Liberals always exploit tragedies. Fact is your kid is way more likely to die on the way to or from school, look at the number of youth deaths each year during school transportation hours. Last stats I viewed had the number one cause of death for kids as being vehicle-accident related. Obviously we need to ban “assault station wagons” ask yourself when was the last time someone pointed a gun at you, then ask yourself when is the last time some idiot almost crashed into. Vehicles and driving are subject to many laws, and every year become safer, but there is still the human element. Even bicycles kill and injure more kids than firearms. Don’t believe it, look it up. The world would be much safer if we just banned bicycles, think of all the lives we would save and injuries we could prevent.

I have AK’s and many other guns, the military taught me to love my guns. I believe in being a responsible owner and keep them locked out of sight. The assault ban is nothing but a backdoor attempt to kill the second amendment. Don’t believe it, why are guns such a lever action 30/30 hunting rifle and bolt actions also listed? My shotgun is much more deadlier with that heatshield..lol.

Hey how is that gun ban working out for the UK? Crimes have soared and one stat said over 30% of their population will be a victim of violent crime. Several UK newspapers even did reports on how the UK purposely records artificial data to keep numbers low; this after interviewing police officers which were sick and tired of how they had to record crimes. Criminals love this; gun crime in England has increased steadily over the last decade. In 1996 Australia made it illegal to use a gun for defense, works great; armed robberies rose 50%, unarmed robberies rose 30%. Criminals love gun control.

On a different note I am so glad to see that many are brainwashed into turning murders and oppressors such as Che Guevara into heroes. Keep up the revolution Comrade!!

I agree we need to change the culture, and use existing laws and actually punish criminals


Vicariously Alive, have you ever been to Cuba???? And I'm not talking Gitmo


@ goofus:

All I can say is "YIKES!" vA needs to check out a copy of "The Black Book of Communism."


After WWII, many Germans believed that Hitler just had bad advisors.



If President Obama wants to ban assult rifles from the citizens, I do think he and his family should no longer be followed around by a possy of armed guards. He thinks he should be able to take away the personal protection of civilians, then he should be willing to give his up as well. And I'd bet he isn't willing to do so, what does that say?




So he "blasted" his way into the building?... I didn't know that!


(Blasted) Is this MSNBC? One round into safety glass and it shatters to the ground.



Lest we forget the Chardon HS shooting earlier this yr. A .22 handgun was used.



I'm having a problem with people who claim they are experts in a country without ever being in said country. It really irritates me, contango, how obtuse some people are!!!!!