Letters to the Editor

Our Sheriff’s Department is faithful to the Constitution

By From page A5 | January 23, 2013


Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am the elected sheriff of El Dorado County, California, and as such am sworn to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I was also elected by the people of El Dorado County to manage and direct the 358 employees of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. As a leader, I take my oath of office seriously and, in doing so, set an example to those I lead.

My agency’s Mission Statement reads as follows:

The mission of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is to uphold the law through the investigation and enforcement of criminal and civil law, to provide leadership and law enforcement support to allied law enforcement agencies, to deliver consistent and human treatment to those placed in our care and custody and to perform these responsibilities in a manner that is responsive to the needs of our community and faithful to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution os the state of California.

As you can see, the United States Constitution, the foundation of our liberties, that we both are sworn to support and defend, is the crux of our duty and honor we owe to all we serve and lead.

The purpose of this letter is to go on record of reaffirming my oath of office and make it clear that I and my staff will never violate that oath by being pressured into enforcing an unconstitutional provision, law or executive order.

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. 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 that we have in this nation and in Californian that ban gun possession by felons and prohibited classes yet law enforcement continues to encounter the aforementioned individuals in possession of firearms.

Our nation’s problem with violent crime is not an issue of firearms; it is an issue of mental illness and antisocial behavior. 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.

My agency will continue to support and defend the constitutional rights of all we serve, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

John D’Agostini
El Dorado County Sheriff-Coroner

Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 11 comments

  • MCCMJanuary 21, 2013 - 10:57 am

    Well then isn't it wonderful there's nothing unconstitutional about it? That's gonna save you a lot of time. :) "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." Classic. Good luck with your next election.

  • GregJanuary 26, 2013 - 7:34 pm

    I'm with you completely, MCCM.

  • AnnJanuary 22, 2013 - 10:34 am

    Great letter sheriff, well written thank you for representing us as you do.

  • Reba StewartJanuary 23, 2013 - 6:21 am

    Well put Sheriff, how can we defend ourselves or our country unarmed ? The criminals wont give up their arms for sure !!!

  • RichardJanuary 23, 2013 - 7:17 pm

    The fact many people in our county, including the Sheriff actually believe in an invisible army over the horizon waiting to impose tyranny, that our nation’s problem with violent crime is not an issue of firearms but entirely an issue of mental health and that some body wants to kick your door down and take your guns away, is confusing. But not that confusing when you consider gun manufacturing is a 99 billion dollar industry annually and donation of almost a million went mostly to Congress. In our nation today, out of 3,250 Sheriffs and almost 18,000 Police Chiefs less than 50 in good standing Nation wide oppose gun control. Our Sheriff John D'Agostini is one of them. Political posturing by our elected Sheriff on the most divisive issue in our country today reflects poorly on the people El Dorado County.

  • GregJanuary 26, 2013 - 7:32 pm

    Very well said, Richard. I couldn't agree more. It's embarrassing how many of our local populace including, apparently, the leadership of local law enforcement, is so backward and out of touch in its thinking. Will it take a madman armed with a high-capacity, automatic assault weapon to go on a rampage here (God forbid) before the message finally sinks in? Sadly, I don't think even that would do it.

  • Teresa O.January 27, 2013 - 2:36 pm

    Interesting that you would be so inflammatory as to state it is a "FACT" (emphasis added) that "many people...believe in an invisible army...". We simply recognize there are criminals in society and in government, and will always be, as did our nation's Founders, who established our 2nd Amendment protections. Morality or sanity can't be legislated, but, individually and collectively we can work within our Constitutional rights (if upheld) to protect ourselves and others from "enemies within and without" our nation's borders. Though most of us want to live in peace with one another, there will always be people who are amoral sociopaths, psychotics, and those who think they have a "right" to steal from and harm others (whatever the causes of their perspectives may be). Also, there are those in government (and other areas of society) who believe they have a "right" to dictate to and control others through threatening coercion and/or unrighteous force. It is not right that certain legislators (Feinstein, Biden, et al) would attempt to dictate to decent, sane people and gun manufacturers in our country, what they can do and how they can do it. It only causes greater black market manufacturing and distribution, and won't stop criminals. And, the worst of it is, criminals will still have guns and ammunition and sane, law-abiding people won't! So, are you willing to let criminals do what they will always do, without allowing people to protect themselves against them?!

  • TerryJanuary 28, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    So our Sheriff goes on the record and says he will ignore an executive order and firmly stands by everyone having access to assault weapons. Gun control has never been about taking anyone's guns. Why can't people see that the NRA does not care about it's members or gun safety? All the NRA cares about is letting the gun manufacturers make as much money as possible. What is wrong with limiting clip sizes to 10 rounds and limiting access to military weapons? That has nothing to do with taking anyone's guns. When will people stop blindly following the NRA and gun nuts like our Sheriff and support gun safety. People will always be able to have as many handguns, rifles and shotguns as they can afford. The current debate is not about taking those from anyone. The current debate by the Sheriff is that he will ignore any new laws and has no problem with everyone in the county owning assault weapons. He also is one of the easiest Sheriffs in the state to get a concealed weapons permit from. That does not make me feel safer at all!

  • RichardJanuary 29, 2013 - 9:01 am

    I remember in 2008 when Tony Diaz, a Yolo County sheriff's deputy was ambushed and died in a hail of gunfire. His killer, Topete, was sentenced to death in February lat year. "Topete took that cop on a chase down a deserted road so he could get him into a place of darkness where he could set up in the shadows and kill him with a AR-15 weapon of war," empting a 20 round magazine on the officer hitting him several times. The fatal wound was in his chest, with others mostly around the neck and shoulders before the officer could return fire.

  • AR-15January 29, 2013 - 8:53 am

    Why is that weapon of war in civilian use and so easily acquired across the country? Why is it not restricted for military and law enforcement use only? Not only is there no federal ban on assault weapons, the vast majority of states have no specific laws restricting these dangerous weapons or high-capacity magazines. Yes, bad people could still get them on the black market. Yes, handguns kill far more people in America than weapons like the AR-15. So what? Reasonable people can agree that such weapons can be restricted among civilians without threatening the Second Amendment rights of others.

  • Jim HarvilleJanuary 30, 2013 - 10:58 am

    I cannot improve on the articulate and thoughtful comment of Teresa O., but I would like to add a few observations from my extensive, 40+ years experience with firearms of all types. First, in terms of both tactical utility AND lethality, a true fully automatic (not semi) sub-machine gun (Uzi, Thompson, MP5, etc.), a semi-automatic service-type rifle (AR-15, semi-auto AK-47/74 clone, etc.), AND a pump action 12 gauge shotgun are virtually identical within the first 40 yards. All three are used rather interchangeably in both law enforcement and military environments within that range. A semi-auto SMG clone is substantially less effective than the shotgun, a full-auto service rifle (M16) slightly more. The reasons that service rifles are beginning to see more use in law enforcement than shotguns have NOTHING to do with whether it is a semi-auto or not, or what magazine capacity it has, it has to do with the factors of precision, range, and recoil. Although devastatingly effective, buckshot spreads about 1 inch per yard of travel, and it becomes increasingly difficulty to ensure a shot that does not endanger bystanders. While this is a critical consideration for an officer or citizen, it is an advantage for the criminal or lunatic. My point is that if you are SO CERTAIN that weapons in this class are TOO DANGEROUS for the average citizen, then you have a moral and intellectual obligation to ban ALL OF THEM! Never mind that rifles and shotguns of ALL types are used in less than 1 murder in 20, or that Semi-Auto Rifles are used in less than 1 in 100! Never mind that it is extremely rare for someone to be shot past 10 yards, much less 40! Never mind that many highly trained and experienced people still choose 7 shot .45 ACP pistols or 6 shot .357 Mag revolvers when they have the choice of any firearm ever invented. The brutal fact is that more than 20 years after California passed an "assault weapon ban" you can go to your local gun store and buy a firearm that is EXACTLY IDENTICAL IN FORM, FUNCTION, AND CAPABILITY as the "banned" weapons!! By that measure, the California law can have NO effect on ANY current or potential crime trend! And now the Honorable Senator Feinstein wants to re-introduce this placebo to the national stage? Also, do not get me started on the "10 rounds is OK, 11 is not" argument! I can destroy that myth inside of 5 minutes at any target range. When will the public realize that it does not matter how fast a gun fires or how often you take the couple of seconds to reload if there isn't anyone (officer or citizen) with the means to shoot back?!



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