By Ron Bain
MONTROSE – Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap, already on record in support of the Second Amendment and the U.S. Constitution, made his strongest statement on the subject of gun control Thursday evening while speaking to the Tri-County 9-12 Project.
“I can assure everybody in this room I will never knock on your door and ask for your weapons,” the sheriff said to applause from a standing room crowd at Friendship Hall. “I will never, ever instruct one of my officers to do the same.”
Dunlap said he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee on the subject of gun control. McKee would have attended the Tea Party group’s meeting but he was fulfilling his duties as president of the County Sheriffs of Colorado in Denver that day, Dunlap said.
“We’re going to fight the fight, shoulder to shoulder,” Dunlap said of McKee.
Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn has also joined him in supporting the individual right to bear firearms, Dunlap said.
The Montrose County sheriff said he did not consider it his responsibility to enforce President Barack Obama’s 23 gun control edicts.
“I do not enforce federal law, nor do I want to,” he said.
Dunlap seemed to retract a previous statement that he would resign if asked to confiscate guns.
“Every lawman in Colorado has a tough choice to make – enforce it or get out of the profession,” he said. “I will stand up for your rights.” Those attending the meeting rose to their feet to show that they would stand with the sheriff in a crisis.
“We don’t want you to leave,” said David Justice, of Gunnison, to applause.
The state legislature was advised in a recent CSOC position paper to observe a “cooling off period” before taking action on gun control, but legislators are expected to begin debate on gun control legislation this week, Dunlap said.
Colorado does not need new gun laws, the sheriff said.
“We already have gun laws in this country,” Dunlap said. “Start enforcing them.”
In Colorado, it’s a 10-year mandatory prison sentence with no possibility of parole “if you use a firearm in the commission of a crime,” he added.
Dunlap complained that the federal HIPPA law prevents law enforcement from finding out about mentally ill people with the potential for violence until after they break the law.
The sheriff responded to several questions and listened to statements on subjects ranging from Agenda 21 to ObamaCare.