Sheriff Stanek on Guns: 'We Have An Access Problem'

The Hennepin County Sheriff spoke during a roundtable discussion with President Barack Obama in Minneapolis Monday.

Editor's Note: The story below is a Hennepin County Sheriff's Office press release.

Today, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek joined Minneapolis residents and law enforcement leaders in a roundtable discussion with President Barack Obama to discuss guns and extreme violence. Among the reasons for President Obama’s visit was to highlight why Minneapolis and Hennepin County have sustained overall reductions in violent crime in recent years and to look for solutions to further reduce gun violence.
As a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment, Sheriff Stanek talked about how the problem is one of access.

“Gun ownership isn’t a privilege, it’s a right guaranteed by the Constitution,” said Sheriff Stanek.  “We have an access problem; people already prohibited by law from owning or buying a gun should never have access to firearms. We shouldn’t impose on the rights of law abiding citizens to try to solve this problem. Gun control alone will not solve the complex problem of guns and extreme violence.”

Sheriff Stanek emphasized the need to improve the current background check system to ensure all court records containing information that would prohibit someone from purchasing a gun under current law are actually entered into the system nationwide.  This position, along with several other suggested reforms, have been adopted by the Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association, Major County Sheriffs’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association.  

Another solution that can be pursued is to improve access to appropriate care for the mentally ill.  

“We know that the mentally ill are no more likely to become violent than the general population, but when mental illness is untreated there is an increased risk of violence,” said Stanek.  

In Hennepin County, we book nearly 38,000 people into the jail annually with an estimated one-third suffering from mental illness.

Since 2006, there has been a 37% reduction in violent crime (rape, robbery, murder, aggravated assault) in Hennepin County.  The Sheriff attributed this reduction to effective partnerships with police agencies countywide and a partnership with the County Attorney’s Office that have focused resources on violent crime.  An increased use of technology, enhanced use of forensics, and collaboration with other agencies have been critical to crime reduction.

Steven February 05, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Sorry Rich. You are wrong again. The gang-bangers have called a short term truce. The shootings and the killings will resume in the Spring. Your misguided agenda is to confiscate all guns from law abiding citizens. Ain't gonna happen Rich. Not today, not tomorrow, not EVER. In the meantime you have sold your soul to the Obama Regime with the hopes of landing a big, fat paycheck with the Obama Chicago-based Machine. Shame on you.
Jeffrey Larson February 05, 2013 at 05:03 AM
RH February 05, 2013 at 12:34 PM
I strongly support Sheriff Stanek. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled two years ago in McDonald v. City of Chicago (striking down Chicago's handgun ban) that there is a Constitutional right under the 2nd Amendment to own guns. We need to enforce the existing laws regarding access and reasonably enhance the system we have in place relating to the purchase of guns.
Dennis Gillespie February 07, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Steven Steven, I read Rich Stanek's remarks twice and I don't really see how you are reading into his comments that he has sold his sole to Obama. What I see him saying is basically get the mentally ill into the background check data base. That is where most of the problems come from and are not included in the background checks. Also enforce the laws that are already on the books, another big portion of our problems come from repeat offenders that are being released from jail or not given adequate jail time.


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