Probably most Franklin County citizens generally agree with Sheriff Gary Toelke’s position on gun controls. His views were published in a front page story in Wednesday’s Missourian.
He’s on target in saying that it is unlikely there will be any legislation demanding confiscation of weapons from law-abiding citizens. It’s not going to happen. But, unfortunately, some people have a fear that it will happen. The most often response from them on this subject is that it happened in Nazi Germany. There were entirely different circumstances in Germany and to make that comparison just isn’t live ammunition in this debate. Germany had a dictator government to begin with. It did not have an effective legislative body. We have Congress whose members would never agree to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens. It’s a constitutional issue.
Sheriff Toelke made it clear that he does not have a problem with law-abiding citizens owning guns, but he does have a problem with felons and mentally ill people having guns. The sheriff said restricting certain types of guns would not help prevent mass killings and he called measures to do that “feel good” legislation. The sheriff said the mental health issue needs to be addressed. He supports broader background checks for buyers of guns.
We agree with him that the local law enforcement offices need to be directly involved in background investigations. They know the local territory and the people. They deal with people with mental health problems nearly every day.
The exposure to the violence and sex seen on television screens, movies, the Internet and other forms of communication have eroded our standards and values as a nation, Sheriff Toelke said. Again, he’s on target with that evaluation of life in the United States and in other countries. As a nation, we do not have a respect for life value any more. Legalized abortion is an example. Other traditional values, such as marriage is between a man and woman, have been dropped under the guise of equality and freedom. The current debate about gays in the Boy Scouts should never have happened. As to morals, this country is sick.
Sheriff Toelke said he won’t be a part of confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens. He said that would be a violation of the Constitution. He emphasized that it’s not going to happen.
There won’t be any major gun control laws coming out of Congress. Members of Congress know how people feel about their guns, and they also know it would be politically harmful to them. Many of our elected representatives are gun owners.
It is nearly impossible to keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill people. But the effort must be made. Why we have so many mentally ill people today is a question that remains to be answered.