Montana Sheriff’s Association One of Many to Take Sides in Gun Rights Controversy
A group called the Constitutional Sheriff's and Peace Officer's Association (CSPOA) is collecting statements from sheriff's associations across the United States in regards to their stance on the issues of gun control and the second amendment.
The site lists 18 state associations including Montana that it claims have “said 'No' to Obama gun control." A closer examination reveals that though not nearly as politically charged, there was a letter written by the Montana Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (MSPOA) on the issue of gun regulations:
“The MSPOA feels that any legislation that takes away constitutional protections, including gun rights, from law-abiding citizens will not alleviate or eliminate the threat from violent or mentally ill individuals. In fact, it would expose our law-abiding neighbors to violence with fewer resources to counter them with.”
Jim Smith, a director of the Montana Sheriff's and Peace Officer's Association said the letter was drawn up in response to legislation that was announced after the tragic shootings at Newtown.
"Sheriffs across the country and here in the state of Montana were being asked a lot of questions about their position on second amendment rights and the constitutionality of certain proposals that were being made," said Smith. "In February of this year, February of 2013, the Montana sheriffs and peace officers approved the letter."
17 other state Sheriff's associations including California, Georgia, and Texas have signed similar letters. Smith said he's not surprised.
"Well, I would like to think that at least 17 other state's sheriff associations would share the sentiments that the Montana sheriffs expressed in this letter," Smith said. "We've already taken an oath, you know? We take an oath when we put on the badge and the gun. It's to uphold the State and the United States Constitutions. There's no need to ask sheriffs to take any other oath."
MSPOA is a representative body and does not necessarily represent each individual sheriff's point of view. However, Smith said the 18 member panel that drew up the letter has “pretty good representation.”
Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman and Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen have released statements similar to the letter written by the sheriff's association in the past. As of an update on November 12, 2018 the CSPOA lists 479 Sheriffs that have published similar opinions, below is the Montana list as shown on their website.