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Letter: Gun rights should be protected

Since the age of 21, while serving as both a sheriff's deputy and state trooper, I have carried a firearm.

My father was a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. My father in-law is a retired captain of the West Virginia State Police. My brother is a deputy with the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. My two grandfathers were WWII combat veterans and my ancestors fought in every conflict back to the Revolutionary War. The right to own, carry and use a firearm to protect my life and the lives of others and the need to fight for and uphold the Constitution runs deep in my family. It is certainly not a right I take lightly.

As a candidate for sheriff, I am often asked for my position on the Second Amendment and, if elected, how I would protect and uphold this and all your constitutional rights. I have been putting my life on the line and upholding the rights all of us were born with as Americans since the day I began carrying a firearm as a police officer. I have used my firearm multiple times, including twice in Carroll County, to protect myself, other police officers and innocent citizens.

I believe eliminating or inhibiting the right of law-abiding citizens to purchase and own guns is a violation of the Second Amendment. I do not believe fewer guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens means less crime. I believe more criminals who use guns while committing crimes and now behind bars with longer sentences, mean less crime.

After patrolling every Carroll County community for over 20 years and serving in every police rank up to captain, including commander of the State Police Westminster Barrack, I understand the prevailing crime issues faced by police and I have a strategy to address them.

Collecting firearms from the law-abiding citizens of this county is not the way to fight crime and is not something I will use the resources of the Sheriff's Office to do. Ridding our community of those who obtain and use guns illegally will be my priority.

Our law enforcement resources are thin and should be directed at what is really affecting our quality of life. I have the experience and qualifications to protect the Second Amendment. After all, who would better understand the value of a firearm than me?

Jim DeWees

Westminster

The writer is a Republican candidate for the Office of Sheriff.

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