GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – An outspoken sheriff on Colorado’s Western Slope says he’s against an assault weapons ban.

Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario says any new gun laws will chip away at the Second Amendment.

Vallario’s county, like many counties in the mountains, is known as sportsman’s paradise, and guns factor into that equation in a big way. Vallario is against many forms of gun control, not just powerful rifles and high capacity magazines.

“I’ve had people ask me, you know, are you going to defend me against the federal government when they come and take my guns? I can’t certainly believe we’ll ever get there, but there are people who are concerned,” Vallario told CBS4.

While a total ban on guns is highly unlikely, Vallario says even banning some kinds of rifles like what was proposed in Congress Thursday is an over-reach and infringes on the Second Amendment.

The sheriff says AR-, AK-, and Uzi-style guns look different, but have the same capabilities as other rifles used for sport or hunting.

“It’s just that people get in their minds that this one looks more of a military style it’s got a different capability, but it doesn’t,” Vallerio said.

Vallerio said the solutions to gun violence shouldn’t concentrate on guns.

“How can we get into the mental health field and help reduce violence? How can we hold criminals more accountable?” he said.

In a 2 page Op-Ed piece Vallerio wrote this month that background checks and databases don’t work because criminals will just avoid them.

“And if you did clear a background check, what’s to stop you from still committing a violent act?” he said. “We have to find other ways to solve the issue of violence in our community and just trying to remove what people perceive as the most commonly used item for violence that’s not going to get it solved.”

Vallerio said he used to support background checks and databases, but after his time in law enforcement, they have proven to him to be simply ineffective.


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