The News Courier in Athens, Alabama


January 25, 2013

Sheriff not worried about Obama’s orders

— After the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the federal government passed the Gun Control act of 1968, which generally banned interstate firearms transfers except among licensed manufacturers, dealers and importers.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely, who is 62, remembers that time and how many people were “up in arms” about proposed changes in the gun law.

“A lot of people were worried that the government would try to restrict or take away their guns,” Blakely said, noting that it did not happen.

Such concern was sparked again in 2012 and 2013 following gun violence in Colorado, Arizona and Connecticut and attempts to address it through law changes.

For example, following the mass shooting of children and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School as well as Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson and Oak Creek, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., proposed a ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. In addition, President Barrack Obama signed 23 executive orders on Jan. 16 to address gun violence in the wake of the mass shootings. 

Although Blakely is a fervent supporter of the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, he does believe the government should look at ways of protecting children and others from mass shootings like these.

“I have had guns all of my life,” Blakely said. “I am a firm supporter of the 2nd Amendment. I have bought a rifle and shotgun for my grandson and I want him to be able to use and enjoy them the rest of his life. But, I think people on both sides need to look at and read the 23 executive orders. I don’t see anything in there that would infringe on a person’s right to own and enjoy a gun.” 

He believes people on both sides of the issue — those trying to ban semiautomatic weapons and those opposed to any restrictions — need to read the executive orders.

Blakely does not feel the same about Sen. Feinstein’s proposed bill, but he isn’t worried about it because it won’t pass, he said.

“You have a better chance of seeing Barrack Obama elected governor of Alabama than you do of seeing Sen. Feinstein’s bill passing,” the sheriff said, pointing out that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives would never allow it.

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