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."



@ goofus: I lived in FL briefly during the early 70s and met a few Cuban expats. Wonder why they fled if Maximum Leader is such a great guy?

Looking forward to him and that other POS Chavez croaking.

I was in TX last wk. Stopped in a sporting goods store. They were three deep at the gun counter.


what bothers me most is in every revolution there are good guys and bad ones. just as in the gun argument. no matter which way you play it it's all games of semantics. the people that win down play the people that lose, and the people on the outside looking in are free to say what they want. the point is change can only happen if the vast majority wants in. back in 1700's we wanted it, back in the 60's cuba wanted it. success of a revolution comes from the people, not the weapons. that's why the war on drugs is failing, there's too many people that don't want it to win for either the fact that they are users, or the fact that they want something to complain about. and if che was really as bad as people make him out to be how is he still an icon almost 40 years after his death? not even castro or our beloved fore fathers can say the same. so he must have been doing something right. anytime anyone does something to initiate change you're going to have nay sayers, just like full grown adults badgering children about dress codes...

hand gun crime rates account for more than double the crime rates with every other weapon combined. this whole assault weapon ban is nonsensical.

the saddest thing is we're not even worried about real issues anymore. we're all so sidetracked about this gun thing that everyone's completely forgotten about the economic state of things... the gun industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. is the government ready to foot he bill from all of the gun store owners that will be found without a job if they ban firearms? because we all know it's not going to stop with "assault riffles" if it's successful...

why are we blaming weapons instead of the cause for their use? lack of education and poverty are the leading root causes for crime, and yet we're trying to blame the tools instead of the cause for their use.

and i don't buy the violent video game crap... video games have been a part of millions of people lives for the last 30 years, and out of the millions of people that play them less than a fraction of a precent of people actually have mental breakdowns and light up a town... so to blame video games or violent movies is an invalid argument... to many people are subject to them with very, very little small amounts of people acting out in their fashion... yes, the number of violent crimes is on the rise, but so is the human population... so with an increasing number of individuals you'll have a relative increase in areas the involve them. it's not a social or emotionally crippling problem due media, it's the laws of statistics. acts of hate like this have been carried out long before games and movies, and they'll continue to happen long after if they are banned as well.


Gun control alone is not the solution to the bigger problem. It only treats a sympton and not the real cause. The cause of incidents like Newtown is our society's widespread belief that might makes right and violence is the solution to our problems. We must change our society so that non-violent solutions to problems are encouraged and personal vigilantism is discouraged.

Our society must also deal with the rampant paranoia that causes too many people to believe that everyone is out to get them including the government. This kind of paranoia causes people to stockpile arsenals of guns to make them feel safe. Paranoia is a mental illness that needs to be treated. If you think an arsenal of guns is going to keep you safe, then you have a mental illness that needs treated. Just like alcohol. A few drinks may be OK but excessive drinking leads to alcoholism. A few guns for protection or hunting is OK but an arsenal of guns to make you feel safe is paranoia.

Many people own guns, play video games, drive automobiles, and do all kinds of things that some people think lead to incidents like Newtown. They are wrong. The real cause of such incidents is the mental health of the individuals who commit these horrible acts and our sick society that has too long accepted violence as an acceptable solution to personal problems. Dealing with a handful of individuals with mental health problems isn't enough. We must treat our sick society that condones violence as an acceptable solution to personal problems.


"Sick society"? Condemning everyone is pure sophistry.

Better start where the vast majority of gun violence occurs: Black-on-black in the urban areas.

When are the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Pres. Obama and other so-called black leaders gonna come up with realistic solutions instead of "feel good" nonsensical measures?

Know your history: Marijuana essentially only became a problem when whites started smoking it. When it was just in the black community, the govt. didn't care.

Chicago has some of the toughest anti-gun laws in the country and is on track to be the 2012 murder capital. Obviously, more gun laws are NOT the answer.

The Big Dog's back

Ahhhh winnie, always the strawman argument.


This is essentially the stance of the NRA:

1) Armed guards ...everywhere. Schools, grocery stores, movie theaters, libraries, hotels, motels, Chuck E Cheese...you get the idea. They want an armed guard at every public location in our country.

2) Anyone with a mental disorder must be put on a registry. Battle ADD? Yup, they want you tracked. Depression? Yup, you'll be tracked as well. Serve our country at war and suffer from PTSD? Yup, you're definitely someone to watch out for as well.
*Oh, they oppose ANY AND ALL tracking of the people who buy these guys, no no...they want to track the people who suffer from any kind of mental health issue.

3) Blame video games and movies. Because other nations such as Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, Germany...they don't have access to these same violent movies or video games (yet don't even have a fraction of our gun violence), but still it MUST be the movies and games! What a joke.

So while Republicans like to throw out Nazi references at will...The NRA, one of their biggest lobbyist groups, has essentially taken a stance for tracking people they feel are mentally unstable AND instituting a police state where we have armed guards ...everywhere.

Watching that joke of a statement from the NRA I couldn't decide if I should laugh or be angry. It was simply ridiculous.


I'm so sure that PONG and BREAKOUT inspired serial killers and shooters!!! The 30 year old video games are no way near what has emerged in the last ten years!!!! Che and Castro are legends in your mind only, mostly adored by all left wing kooks!!!!

Jas, try telling a moonshiner in appalachia who is trying to feed his family, that the government isn't out to get him over stupid taxes.


Another expert on foreign countries has opined. I'm sure his extensive travel to Canada, Australia,Japan,Italy, and Germany has led to his expert testimony!!!!! Why haven't you traveled to Brazil? They have the strictest gun control in the world and they have more firearm deaths per capita than the USA


Hey just a thought here but if your gonna be in law enforcement and especially a chief of police. Shouldn't you know what a so called "assault rifle" is?? The ignorance of the Norwalk Police Chief and the Sandusky assistant police chief is sheer disgusting! How are you gonna weight in on a conversation when you don't have the first clue what type of gun your actually talking about and what it does?!?! Now the guns THEY USE and HAVE for police use and I am sure some of them have them in their personal collection that you will never hear about, but those ARE fully automatic and REALLY ARE assault rifles! I am glad I don't live in Sandusky or Norwalk with that kind of ignorance in charge! It makes you wonder what else they don't really understand about laws and such but yet are in charge of enforcing them???!@?! God help us all if that's the case!


I don't believe that the Federal Government intends to get rid of the Second Amendment at ALL. I do believe that the right to bear arms was written into the constitition for the protection of their citizens to protect their own homes then and forever more and is for that reason a staple of the constitituion.

It is NOT meant as a caveat for people to take it further than the confines of their homes. It isn't something that is the God given right to take beyond the confines of protection and food gathering for their families.

Only man can make this into something it isn't. Look at how they lived back then. Do you HONESTLY believe that the founding fathers meant this to be what it means today??? Come on now, think about that and be honest with yourselves.

Today's society is much different than that of Adams, Jackson and Jefferson. We should be more respectful of the written words of our founding fathers and a little less disrespectful of them, less twisting of what we want than of what they wrote.

We have exploited their words to fit what we want to do with the second amendment to fit our needs. We have made it fit for today.

What a shame that we have done so. We no longer hunt to eat, no longer fight out foreign or domestic enemies in our homes and no longer have to defend our home soil against enemies of foreign envaders right in our back yards. The most we fight in our homes are break in now and again and we can all call the police who get their pretty quickly.

Each of us has the right to bear and arm for protection but we don't need assault weapons for our own protection. So what have we to prove with them? Not much. I think we should be respecting that which was written so long ago, not exploiting it for personal gain like the weapons industries do, with their big league hit men known as the NRA.


What you don't understand is that the reason we "no longer fight out foreign enemies in our homes" is because we are an armed nation. Armed Americans make up the largest Army in the world. Our enemies know that to attack us in ground combat on our own soil would be suicide.

How come you don't see signs in peoples yards that say they support a gun ban? I'd answer it for you, but you're intelligent, i'll let you figure it out.


(So what have we to prove with them?)

Nothing!!! What do we have to prove with a bunch of guys ramming into each other on a 100 yard long piece of dirt, guys jumping up and down on a wood floor tossing balls, guys scratching themselves out in the grass looking into the sky? I could go on forever, some of us enjoy plinking, shooting, and we like all kinds of different toys. We may have a one shot muzzle loader to shoot trap with, put that away only to get out an AR and outline a target with a quick finger.

Wired, I never disrespect your opinion; firearms and yes semi-automatic firearms are not just for killing as so many like to say. The idea of placing a projectile downrange, hitting a target accurately can be a lot of fun. Anything can be a deadly weapon and that would include a baseball bat that one of those guys above uses, he practices hitting that little ball very hard, over a hundred miles an hour. Place one of those guys crazed out of his mind in a closed classroom of six year olds with a death wish and I bet none of those kids would come out alive either. Tools are tools, use them the wrong way and they become weapons!


I can see that no-one is reading the comments that say that a handgun is no different than any gun available to most people. Look at an AR-15:

and an M-16:

Same gun. Only, the M-16 is capable of 3 round bursts and fully auto. THAT is an assault rifle. The AR-15 is just like any handgun. Another difference? Harldy ANYONE can carry an M-16 legally.

Is this getting through to you anti-gun brickheads at all!?

When you think of assault rifle, think Tommy Gun. When you think what is legal, think your hand held pistol with a long barrel that just looks mean.


Dammit. Got the whole freakin' internet out there which is a library "plus" and you don't even have to leave the house, but y'all come in commenting on stuff you don't have a clue about.


i think before being able to comment on gun rights and regulations you first have to have some sort of experience with one... or at least be educated about them.

the media is using scare tactics to get into the hearts and minds of the uneducated... this nonsensical ban on riffles... you can't hide a riffle... you cant just slip it in a pocket and carry it in a school or office, the riffles that are easy to get ahold of from any sporting goods store are around 3ft in length... and yet somehow the media and it's mindless followers have us more scared of something you can spot at a hundred yards and not the pistoles that you can hid in a pocket... this how stupid this whole argument is... not to mention that it would take 5 - 6 years for riffles related deaths to even compete with the about of deaths from pistols, and yet somehow the media has gotten people to fight for such an illogical ban... it's quite amusing to see just how fickle and and easily persuaded the general public is. for god's sake more people are killed each year by knives than by riffles. there are around 10,000 homicides (murders) caused by firearms in each year... some years higher and some lower.. around 4-5% of those deaths were caused by a rifle of any kind (semi-auto, full-atuo, bolt action, single shot) thats around 400 deaths per year (some years more and some less)... in 2010 around 4600 people died in work related accidents where OSHA had strict safety regulations... so going by these numbers people are over 10 times more likely to die in places that are OSHA regulated than they are to be killed by a rifle of all combined makes and models. yet somehow, rifles are such a big threat?

if you put rifle related deaths up against just about any death related statistic you'd see that arguing against them would seem pretty silly... just looked up choking deaths per year... turns out that's just as dangerous as working for a place with safety standards regulated by OHSA... with around 4600 deaths per year... in 2003 nearly 2000 children at the age of 3 (and only counting children at the age of 3) died by choking on their toys or food, that same year nearly the same amount of people at any age were killed by any gun that wasn't a pistol (which includes all riffles and home made guns as well as shotguns)... so does that mean we outlaw children's toys and refuse to let them eat solid food? the media has people arguing against statistics and logic... we have equally and bigger things to worry about than something that only results in a fraction of a precent of all non natural deaths... people need to get a grip. i think the only things rifles don't beat out are shark attacks and death by coconut and other equally rare and bizarre circumstances... hell, you're even more likely to die in a plane crash than to be killed by a riffle...


Nice stats, where's the documentation or are you publishing what you heard!!!


goofus... try using Google to look stuff up. it's nice and has helped graduates for near a decade. i guess you haven't heard of it though.

but in case you're really that inept...






Dr. Information

Bottom line is more innocent lives are taken each year by drunk drivers and car accidents. More people are dying each day from obesity...etc. We all understand this tragedy and have a lot of sympathy. Thats not the point.

The point is most of you have no clue about guns and are on here spouting off about controlling this and that. Guess what, there are already gun control measures and plenty of them. You will never stop private sales of guns, you just simply can't. Private sales do not require background checks on purchases.

Also like I stated earlier all an assault rifle is, is a military LOOK ALIKE, nothing more nothing less. You can buy the exact same gun minus the military look with the same caliber, same mag capacity.....the only difference is the look...nothing more nothing less. Just because its called an assault rifle and looks military grade doesn't mean it is, because its not.

The term assault rifle is a joke. I could shoot the same amount of bullets from a handgun or a wood stock semi auto rifle and do just as much damage. Should we now call all rifles that are semi's assault rifles? How about handguns? I can fire off plenty of rounds in 10 seconds to do plenty of damage control.

Learn and educate yourself before you start spilling information about guns that you have no clue about.


Freakin' Dumba$$

Dr. Information

@ahhhh, the typical liberal response to the facts. Can't argue ehhhh, have to resort to name calling. Well chump, what do you have to say......lol


No. You are just regurgitating what has already been said. If you had taken the time to read former posts, you'd know why I called you that.

Dr. Information

dont like it dont read it chump.


F.Y.I. ~ C-SPAN National Rifle Association Briefing 2:30pm ET

Dr. Information

Facts are.....the VAST majority of gun owners are responsible. Are there people who have guns that shouldn't.....sure. Just like there are people that drive cars that shouldn't. There are people who shouldn't have the internet but do.....

Horrible tragedy, but you cannot go on an anti gun rant because .000001% of our population kills someone or people.

The Big Dog's back

Not anti gun, anti weapons of mass murder.

Dr. Information

anti cars then? They kill more people than guns do each year. Anti fast food? Kills more than guns.

Any gun could be a weapon of mass murder. handgun, shotgun, rifle....etc. So you are for no guns.......typical liberal mindset.

Dr. Information

Massive car wreck kills 7......http://www.caradvice.com.au/1445...

Teen kills 8 in China with a Knife.......http://online.wsj.com/article/SB...

6 killed with baseball bat........http://whatreallyhappened.com/co...

Just a bunch of mass murder weapons. Ban them all according to Dog.