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Law enforcement leaders give their takes on gun control

By Christy Andrews
Published On: Feb 19 2013 09:08:59 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 19 2013 10:59:38 PM CST
NEW BERN -

The Coastal Carolina Taxpayers Association held a meeting about proposed gun control laws Tuesday evening, and local law enforcement leaders were asked about their thoughts on the issue.

Close to 100 people showed up for the meeting, held at the Bridgeton Hotel in New Bern. Residents asked Craven County Sheriff Jerry Monette about his stance on gun control.

Resident Mark Jones was one of two people who asked the sheriff why he hasn't signed a pledge to protect Craven County citizens from constitutional infringements, specifically against the Second Amendment.

"I take my oath of office seriously," Sheriff Monette said. "I feel like I have done that and will continue to do that."

But Jones said he did not like what he heard.

"I'm frustrated because he didn't initially answer the question," said Jones. "He kind of dodged what the question was. Our politicians waffle on every issue. They don't answer questions."

But other residents at the meeting said they understood Sheriff Monette's position.

"Obviously, most people would want to hear more," said Mike Markham . "He has to operate in reality, like he said."

Sheriff Monette said he is willing to look at the pledge and sign it. He said ultimately, he's paid to uphold the State and Federal Constitution.

Sheriff Monette said a problem he sees with the gun control debate is misinformation. He said he's reviewed the new proposals, and does not see anything proposed on the federal level that would take away firearms from his people.

Jones County Sheriff Danny Heath was also invited to the meeting Tuesday night. He could not attend, but did sent a statement about his stance on the Second Amendment:

"Any move to criminalize the Second Amendment right of otherwise law abiding citizens should be met with great opposition and high suspicion," Sheriff Heath wrote.

Trent Woods Police Chief Tony Lee also released a response.

"I fully support the Constitution and the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms," Chief Lee said in the statement. "However, while I do believe that law abiding citizens should have the right preserved, I also support certain measures to protect law enforcement and citizens alike from unnecessary gun related violence at the hands of dangerous people."