Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin said that though she supports citizens’ rights to bear arms, a report by a law-enforcement group that she has pledged to stop any gun control efforts by President Barack Obama isn’t true.
Franklin said she never signed any pledge or “vowed not to uphold any federal laws,” but her inclusion in a list published by the group may have stemmed from a Facebook post she made addressing county residents’ concerns about possible gun control legislation.
The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in a post on its website Wednesday listed Franklin among 90 sheriffs and two state sheriffs associations across the country that “vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution against Obama’s unlawful gun control measures.”
“I applaud these public servants for their courage and conviction,” said the poster, identified in a Reason.com blog as CSPOA head Richard Mack. A secretary who answered the phone at CSPOA office said Mack was traveling. He did not return the phone call.
“I don’t know where that came from. I don’t know who those people are,” Franklin said.
She also appeared on another list published on Constitution Club USA’s website Jan. 19, alongside Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning and Houston County Sheriff Andy Hughes. Hughes also made the CSPOA list.
Following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that left 20 children and six educators dead last month in Newtown, Conn., many gun owners began to fear a new federal crackdown on firearms.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, who also killed himself and his mother, used a high-powered rifle owned by his mother, who reportedly was a gun enthusiast.
Franklin said she suspects a Jan. 18 post about gun control, which received 420 “likes” and 120 comments on her “Sheriff Ana Franklin” Facebook page, drew the national attention as it spread across the Internet. It was shared more than 600 times on Facebook alone, she said.
“A lot of people who were concerned and asking, ‘Are you going to come in and take our guns if they disallow them?’ and I said, ‘No.’ There’s no local law enforcement agency that is going to come and take people’s guns. Not in Alabama,” she said.
Her post went further, though, saying “nor will we stand for any federal agent to violate our citizens’ constitutional rights” and that she took her oath of office understanding that “County Sheriffs may one day be our last line of defense against a government that seeks to reach outside its lawful bounds.”
It also said one reason citizens should be armed is in case they need to be deputized by the sheriff.
“The 2nd amendment was framed to insure that the people would be armed and able to fight for a righteous and lawful cause,” it said.
The post made no mention of the current administration.
Franklin said she was trying to allay fears, not encourage anti-government sentiments. She said federal agents intruding into homes and confiscating weapons is an unlikely scenario, but many had posed questions about it.
“I didn’t say I think it’s coming to that,” she said. “I just wanted to let them know I get it. I wanted them to know that I did understand what my duties were and what my position would be if it ever did come to that.”
Franklin said she stayed silent on the issue for weeks, despite being bombarded with questions from the public.
“You would be surprised by the normal people — not the people that are really out there — that are concerned right now about the government and what they’re going to do about guns,” she said.
Franklin said she believes there should be restrictions on who is able to purchase and carry weapons, but such restrictions are already in place and she doesn’t see a need for new laws.
“We need the power and ability to enforce the ones we have and the means to deal appropriately with criminals and the mentally ill that fall through the system,” she said on Facebook.
Seth Burkett can be reached at 256-340-2446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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