Sheriff Rasmussen was gracious in sharing his speech.
We are honored to have such a fine man standing up for us!
I appreciate those that have participated in this event for the sake of freedom and 2nd amendment rights. It takes special people to stand up and be counted and to be strong voices for the rights we all enjoy as Americans. I lead an outstanding group of men and women in protecting the citizens of Union County and watch them continue to work hard daily with our law enforcement partners to make this a livable and safe county. I appreciate you greatly and that includes the Oregon State Police and La Grande Police Department. Chief Harvey of the La Grande Police Department could not be with us but sends his strong support for citizen’s constitutional rights and stands committed with us.
Could the current and retired law enforcement officers please stand and be recognized for your service to the people. We would also like to recognize the service and sacrifice of our current and former military veterans pleas rise. Please join me in a moment of silence as we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as Americans
I have been honored to serve as your Sheriff for 2 terms and as I begin the third term we are faced with extreme challenges as a country both economically and politically. We are a nation divided, but as we have recently seen, are becoming more united on constitutional fronts to particularly include the 2nd amendment. The right to bear arms affects all citizens cutting across both political party and socioeconomic lines. In short this meeting is about freedom and equality for all, which I stand firmly committed to.
Dec. 13th last year was a sad and tragic day for America. That morning I heard the unsettling news of a school shooting in Connecticut. As I watched the chaos unfold before my eyes I have to confess they were teary. I thought of my own children who are here tonight and felt deeply for the families affected by that tragedy as well as the responders to that horrific scene. To have innocent children’s precious lives cut short by a deranged mass killer made me saddened and sick.
As the day wore on, I heard updated rising numbers of the deceased children. Then it hit me. I knew my life as a public servant of the people and as a currently serving Sheriff would forever be changed. I knew that I would no longer be the Sheriff of Union County simply addressing the safety needs of Citizens with our law enforcement partners. It would also require me to stand publicly for the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding citizens, knowing there would be some scrutiny. Because of this terrible event, elected officials started the immediate discussion and now have begun the process of what I believe to be an incremental infringement of our precious 2nd amendment right to bear arms. As the elected representative of Law Enforcement I feel it incumbent upon me to stand for the people and their 2nd amendment rights. And to also stand for all other God given rights by the Constitution. I have done just that and will continue to do, as demonstrated by my recently released statement, which I continue to firmly stand by.
As I have said before some of the President’s Executive Orders are doable and will increase safety, which I will support. However, I cannot support certain firearm and magazine restrictions, or certainly not state or national registration which will be the next discussion politicians will renew. This is the government’s way of monitoring those citizens rightfully armed and I am adamantly opposed to such. Our American system has always been a system of checks and balances in which citizen’s rights are protected by the balance of power. This especially includes the Office of Sheriff which can act independently of all other agencies on behalf of the people if warranted.
Some folks have asked why the Sheriffs are weighing in on the issue of gun laws and the answer is quite simple. Some gun proposals could violate the constitution and we as Sheriffs are serious about upholding and not infringing upon any of those rights. And that includes other critical amendments such as the freedom of speech and freedom of unreasonable search and seizure. I can promise you this, I would be standing up for any citizen in this County if I believed any of their constitutional rights were being violated.
I will share with you an illustrative experience. Years ago as I was patrolling with a young reserve I jumped in behind a drug dealer’s car traveling from La Grande to Elgin. I strongly believe to this day that they were carrying drugs, and I just had to get them stopped via a legal traffic stop. He was weaving ever so close to the line but never crossed onto it. The Reserve was so excited to get the traffic stop and drugs and said a couple of times “didn’t he cross the line!” I explained that he was very very close but in my estimation did not touch and therefore did not violate the failure to maintain a lane of traffic law, nor could I find any other legal reason to stop the person. I thought dang where’s a State Trooper when you need one! They could surely find something. Long story short the dope likely rolled down the road but I taught a valuable constitutional lesson to that Reserve. We do things legally even if this allows for a few criminals to go on occasion
I am keenly aware of the argument of “why don’t the Sheriff’s let the Supreme Court decide if a gun law is constitutional”. My answer is, and I cannot speak for other Sheriff’s, but if I in good faith believe that an executive order which has not been reviewed by the Supreme Court contravenes the constitution, and I arrest people prior to the court’s final decision; I have knowingly violated peoples rights and subjected myself and the county (i.e. your tax dollars) to a lawsuit. I really don’t want Gov. Chris Christie to weigh in to my decision to arrest and say “Sheriff that was just stupid”.
In all seriousness I truly try to bring a good heart and good faith to all decisions that affect the citizens of our county and promote that philosophy with those Deputies I hire to work for you. I am proud of them and the professional image they portray and the excellent police work they do to keep your families safe. I and my staff will continue to be fully engaged in working with our schools to improve security and make our schools safe for our children. I also remain committed to work with our local, state, and federal partners in apprehending dangerous criminals and keeping firearms out of their possession for the safety of our children and citizens. I know the gun control issue can be an emotional one on both sides but I am convinced we can work together to make schools safer and protect our dear children while still protecting our god given and constitutionally sacred right to bear arms.
I stand before you today and give you my solemn word that as long as I’m privileged to hold this Office of Sheriff I will always uphold my duty to protect your constitutional rights, and that of course includes the 2nd amendment. May God Bless you and your families. Thank you for coming to our event.
Sheriff Boyd Rasmussen
Union County Sheriff’s Office
La Grande OR, 97850
January 29, 2013