Florence Co. sheriff speaks out on gun control

FLORENCE COUNTY (WMBF) - Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone released an open letter Friday regarding gun control and gun rights issues raised by last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.

Below is the full text of Sheriff Boone's letter:

In the past several weeks I have been asked repeatedly whether my office would cooperate with the federal government to confiscate firearms from the citizens of Florence County if ordered to do so. Like every citizen of the United States, we are watching the debate on how to stop the horrific acts of violence by a few deranged individuals against our most vulnerable. The heartbreaking images of innocent children murdered on such a scale are beyond horrifying, and we as a society must try to find a solution to stop this senseless violence. Rhetoric on both side of the political spectrum is both understandable and predictable. How the discussion will play out is unknown at this time. What we know however, is that this office will always stand for and enforce the rule of law. It is not possible, nor is it practical to predict what we will do in a hypothetical situation. Nothing in the recent Executive Orders from the White House appears to impact local law enforcement. When and if the time comes to act or not act, we will do so given our best analysis of Constitutional principles involved and under the circumstances which exist at the time. 

Rest assured that we strongly support the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution and its counterpart in the South Carolina Constitution. We have never feared the possession of firearms by law abiding citizens. The overwhelming majority of firearms owners in this State pose no threat to anyone other than those who would do them harm. The cherished right of law abiding citizens to keep and possess firearms for recreation, hunting and self-defense is uniquely American and the bedrock of freedom.

While the politicians debate and the interest groups advocate their positions, we are working with the School Districts to increase the security of our schools in an effort to prevent the type of tragedy we witnessed in Connecticut from happening in our county. We are jointly reviewing all policies and practices to make sure that our schools have state of the art security measures in place. Our School Resource Officers and Patrol Deputies will be more visible in and around our schools, and additional training for school personnel on critical incidents is in the works. 

As your Sheriff, I urge everyone to take a breath and a break from all the rhetoric and allow this debate to take place through the political process. That process allows for your voice to be heard through your elected representatives in Congress and at the State House. Let them hear from you. In the interim we will be enforcing the law as it currently exists.


Kenney Boone

Florence County Sheriff