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Kieran Donahue, Canyon County sheriff

First of all, and let me be as plain-spoken as possible as to two issues: First, gun ownership is not a political issue; it is a constitutional right. Second, what happened in Newtown, Conn., isn’t a political issue, it’s a tragedy.

People who confuse these principles have no business telling me how to do my job. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, enforce the law and protect my community, and that’s what I’ll do.

Law-abiding citizens have every right to own legal firearms, and I am confident that our Congress would not be so foolish as to let anyone strip us of our Second Amendment rights.

I’ve looked at the 23 executive actions signed by the president, and I don’t see that they accomplish anything. It’s just political posturing, and I’m not going to fight hysteria with hysteria.

I’ve worked for years with dedicated ATF agents and other local law enforcement officers to keep illegal guns, like sawed-off shotguns, off our streets and enforce laws prohibiting felons from owning or possessing firearms.

The president says he wants to provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. Let’s do it. I’ll be first in line, and stand ready to devote as many officers as I can to schools just as soon as he provides that funding. I am a strong advocate of having certified police officers serve as SROs in our schools.

He wants to require law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. We already do.

He wants to maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime. Each and every day, law enforcement officers in our communities put their lives on the line to prevent gun violence and uphold the Constitution. Those men and women don’t have time for hollow political posturing.

When the White House is ready for meaningful dialogue, perhaps we can then talk about the real issues: for example, a culture of violence and disrespect of law enforcement, mental health issues, and the flow of illegal drugs into our country.

God bless the United States of America.

_ _ _ _ _

Gary Raney, Ada County sheriff

As an elected official and a sheriff, I have the great honor to take an oath of office. Very few occupations include the special pride that comes with the trust inherent in an oath of office, but mine does.

In that oath, I swore to uphold the Constitution and laws that we live under in this great nation. Those words were my promise that I would not use my own personal interests to decide what is right and wrong. I swore to work within our system of law and justice to fairly enforce what you, through your elected representatives in the Legislature and Congress, have decided should be the law of our land.

Those laws are set upon a foundation of checks and balances, embodied in the separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. When we forsake the law or disregard those checks and balances, we take the first step down the path toward anarchy.

I have been asked many times in the past couple of weeks whether I will uphold my oath to defend the Constitution and proclaim an intolerance of federal action against the Second Amendment.

Many others have indulged that pressure, and now we see Oregon sheriffs, Wyoming legislators and others making hollow promises to protect you from the intrusions of the federal government. Let me respectfully remind you that we are the federal government, the state government and the local government.

I did not swear to uphold just part of the Constitution. Our Constitution includes the right to keep and bear arms, but it also includes the “supremacy clause” that says that every state shall abide by the laws passed by our Congress.

So despite the fact that I personally oppose some of the gun control measures currently under consideration, my oath requires me to uphold the laws that are passed by our federal and state representatives.

When we disagree with those laws, the checks and balances built into our government point us toward the proper remedy: changing the laws or challenging them in the judicial branch. As to whether or not the president has the power to issue executive orders limiting our Constitutional rights, that is another matter to be decided by the Supreme Court, not by 44 different sheriffs in Idaho.

We live in the greatest society the world has ever seen, and we enjoy that because of the founding principles our forefathers established in our Constitution. It would be hypocritical and irresponsible of me to forsake that Constitution and the wisdom of generations that have followed it.

I fear that passions have led people into a rally of mistruth. It is time we truly respect the Constitution and our system of justice. Regardless of your personal opinion on the Second Amendment, embrace everyone’s liberty and use our well-established process to pass laws and contest them.

Hollow promises and threats will only divert people from doing the right thing — honoring the truth and being involved in a process whereby our rights and liberties are protected by a respect of the law, not by rhetoric.

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