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January 23, 2013
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El Dorado Sheriff: Gun control a 'folly'

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - El Dorado County Sheriff John D'Agostini joined a chorus of law enforcement officers around the country last week with the penning of a strongly-worded letter to the White House criticizing gun control efforts.

In the Jan. 17 letter, D'Agostini contends gun control does not reduce crime because criminals will always find a way to obtain weapons.

"It is well known and proven with facts, not emotional inference, that gun control of any kind, has no effect on the reduction of crime, anywhere," D'Agostini wrote in the letter. "If all manner of firearms were removed from within the borders of the United States those in society who have no respect for the rule of law, would still find a way to obtain and use firearms. This is an absolute fact given the current laws we have in this nation and in California that ban gun possession by felons and prohibited classes yet law enforcement continues to encounter the aforementioned individuals in possession of firearms."

The letter goes on to blame "mental illness and antisocial behavior" for violent crime in the U.S.

"Our Nation's problem with violent crime is not an issue of firearms it is an issue of mental illness and antisocial behavior," D'Agostini said. "If as much effort were expended in keeping criminals out of our communities and identifying and treating our mentally ill as are expended in the folly of gun control, this Nation would experience an immensely measurable decrease in violent crime."

D'Agostini reaffirms his oath of office in the letter and says the sheriff's office will never violate that oath by "being pressured into enforcing any unconstitutional provision, law or executive order."

In the wake of the Connecticut school shooting that left 26 educators and students dead, President Barack Obama proposed gun policy reforms including a ban on new assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Obama also issued 23 executive orders regarding gun control that apply to the federal government. It will be up to the U.S. Congress to decide on any additional gun reforms covering state and local jurisdictions.

- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 23, 2013 11:00AM Published Jan 23, 2013 10:59AM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.