Local law enforcement: Where they stand

Local law enforcement: Where they stand

(KSLA) - Now that some local law enforcement authorities around the country have expressed their opposition to an assault weapons ban and stricter federal gun control measures, we're checking in with local law enforcement leaders in the ArkLaTex to see where they stand.

Here are some of their answers.

In Caddo Parish, Sheriff Steve Prator says, "I'm not ready to say whether I would or wouldn't enforce something, but if they passed a law that said, 'you go around and seize everybody's guns,' I'm going to be changing professions."

Shreveport Police Chief Willis Shaw has not directly addressed the issue, but recently reiterated his stance that the SPD is not going to infringe on anyone's 2nd Amendment rights, and that they are not trying to take guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

"I believe in the right to have a gun," says Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton, "I respect that right." However Sexton says, "I don't believe guns need to be in the hands of convicted felons. We enforce that in Webster Parish. I don't believe they need to be in the hands of people that have mental issues." Sexton goes on to say that "a firearm doesn't kill anybody, it's the person holding it that does that. While he says it's unfortunate what happened in Connecticut, "I stand behind my belief that - I'm not a big assault rifle person - but I certainly believe that if a law-abiding citizen wants to own an assault rifle to protect their home or just to shoot, I believe they have the right."

"I'm a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, of people's right to bear arms," says DeSoto Parish Sheriff Rodney Arbuckle. "But not only am I a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, I'm also a constitutional officer sworn to uphold the whole constitution and to the be best of my ability, my hand to God."

As far as whether he would enforce a ban on assault rifles if such a law were passed, Arbuckle says, "That gets to be a 'What if' question. Was it done legally? Was it directed by the President? Did Congress do it? There's a lot of issues in there that one would have to look at. But I don't think that the federal government does have the right to take away the rights of the people, law-abiding citizens to possess firearms."

Those variables make it "kind of a loaded question," Arbuckle says.

It's one that Bossier City Police Chief Shane McWilliams declined to answer, calling it a matter for the legislature.

Bossier Parish Sheriff Julian Whittington released a statement emphasizing his "strong support of the entire 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms for all Americans in the Constitution 223 years ago." As a gun owner, avid hunter and former shooting sports instructor, Whittington says the right to bear arms is something he doesn't take lightly.

"The 2nd Amendment is there so people have a way to protect themselves, and as the Sheriff, I will enforce the laws that guarantee them that right," Whittington says.  "I have also been in contact with local and state officials to express these sentiments.   The Louisiana Sheriffs' Association is currently evaluating all proposals delineated in the President's recent address about gun violence.  The LSA is also in the process of assessing for our membership the impact upon law enforcement and public safety."

KSLA News 12 has reached out to other local law enforcement leaders around the ArkLaTex on this issue, and some have not yet responded. If and when they do, their stances will be added here.

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