Sheriff: Your Guns Aren’t in Danger
By Brandi Makuski
Portage County’s top law dog said the issue of gun control has brought him a lot of feedback from Portage County residents lately.
“I’ve been getting emails and phone calls from people wanting to know what position I’m going to take with this new legislation,” said Sheriff John Charewicz.
“There is no new legislation. If any legislation at all is passed I think there’s going to be stricter gun background checks and it’s going to be for everyone that buys and sells, which means private sales and gun shows.”
Charewicz also said that kind of legislation is unlikely to deter criminals because they don’t buy within the law anyway.
“But it might eliminate some of the people that are buying now, that might not be able to because of medical conditions. We have no way of knowing,” he said.
On Friday President Barack Obama asked law enforcement officials nationwide to help support tighter new legislation on gun ownership, to include magazine capacity limits, universal background checks and an assault weapons ban.
“Hopefully if law enforcement officials who are dealing with this stuff every single day can come to some basic consensus in terms of steps that we need to take,” Obama said, “Congress is going to be paying attention to them, and we’ll be able to make progress.”
A Milwaukee County sheriff last week also made nationwide headlines when, in a radio ad, he advised residents they should consider legally arming themselves because, “Simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option.”
Charewicz said he’s aware of “some 200” sheriffs nationwide who have publicly taken a stance against tighter gun control, but he pointed out that number is small considering the more than 3,000 sheriffs in the country. He said he’s got no plans to publicly support or protest any forthcoming legislation.
“I don’t think it’s my place. I own as many guns as the next person, and I don’t want my guns taken away, either. So I get it- but quite frankly, when I’m off duty I don’t usually carry a firearm.”
In a December address responding to the Sandy Hook disaster, Mayor Andrew Halverson called for greater attention to mental health care and violent video games, but also said he was in favor of stricter gun control.
“I took a stance once with Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) to help law enforcement, by their request, to be able to track guns used in crimes across state lines more easily,” Halverson read in his address.
He added while he privately owns firearms and enjoys shooting them, the National Rifle Association (NRA) should accept compromise on the issue of gun control because, “law enforcement is outgunned, and see the increasing levels of guns on our streets here in Stevens Point and nationwide.”
Sheriff Charewicz said whatever the new legislation, legal gun owners shouldn’t worry about their rights.
“We won’t be coming door- to- door for your guns,” he said.
“But look, we live in Central Wisconsin; there may be one firearm- related homicide every couple of years. I don’t know if it’s panic or what, but there isn’t that perceived danger here.”