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All of Utah’s 29 sheriffs vow to protect Second Amendment rights amid Biden gun control push

People at a gun range. (MaxPixel/Released)
June 15, 2021

On Friday, all 29 sheriffs Utah’s 29 counties signed a joint statement vowing to protect their constituents’ Second Amendment rights as President Joe Biden’s administration has unveiled new efforts to regulate firearm ownership and set model legislation for states to implement confiscatory “red flag” extreme protective orders.

The statement, issued Friday by Cache County Sheriff Chad Jensen, begins, “Prompted by increasing public concern to safeguard constitutional rights, we, the elected Sheriffs of Utah, soundly reaffirm our sworn oaths to ‘support, obey, and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Utah.”

The letter goes on to say, “Importantly, the Second Amendment of our divinely inspired Constitution clearly states ‘. . .the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.’ We hereby recognize a significant principle underlying the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms is indispensable to the existence of a free people.”

“As your elected Sheriffs, we individually and collectively pledge to do everything within our power to steadfastly protect the Second Amendment and all other individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution,” the statement reads. “We understand the destructive influences currently existing in our country will only relent when women and men everywhere genuinely care for each other. We must rely on Providence and care deeply about preserving the Constitution and its freedoms in order to be a strong and prosperous people.”

Jensen, responding to a request for comment by the Salt Lake Tribune, said the new statement isn’t in response to specific legislation but is instead a general statement assuring people that their rights will be protected.

In April, a day after Biden announced plans for new gun control efforts, Jensen said, “Biden talked about several proposed measures of gun control and plans to sign executive orders. Unconstitutional gun control in any measure will not happen in Cache County on my watch.” Jensen added, “I stand at the forefront of this county to protect your rights from government overreach.”

In May, the Biden administration announced plans to redefine the legal definition of a firearm in an effort to subject more firearms parts to background checks and serial number tracking. The proposed changes would potentially limit the production and sales of homemade firearms, referred to as “ghost guns.”

Last week, the Biden administration announced further gun control efforts by way of releasing model legislation for states to adopt, that would allow family members or law enforcement officers to petition a judge to confiscate a person’s firearms if they report to the judge that the person represents a threat of harm to themselves or others. The confiscatory process is known as an extreme risk protective order or “red flag” law.

The Biden administration also brought forth a proposed rule change last week that would redefine many firearms classified as pistols with stabilizing braces as short-barreled rifles, which are subject to great regulation under the National Firearms Act.

Along with his model legislation and proposed rule changes on firearms, Biden had said on his campaign website before the 2020 presidential election that he also supports legislation banning ownership of vaguely-defined “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines.” While Biden’s campaign website did not clarify his definition of an assault weapon, Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), said he supports a ban on popular AR-15 style firearms. Biden’s campaign website states he also supports legislation to restrict purchases of firearms to one per person per month.