Sheriffs show support for 2nd Amendment

Support comes as lawmakers push for stricter gun laws

BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla. – Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith doesn't mince words when people ask him about their right to bear arms.

"No we're not coming to get your guns. I'm not coming in your house. That's not regulated by our state," he said. "Every day my citizenry, I bump into them going to eat, going to breakfast, and they ask, 'Sheriff, what are you going to do?' I know what I'm going to do -- uphold the Constitution, our Second Amendment rights."

Smith is one of all 67 sheriffs in Florida to sign off on a proclamation showing support for the Second Amendment, which says people are guaranteed their right to own guns and use them if needed. The National Sheriffs' Association sent out a similar notice.

This comes as some lawmakers are pushing for stricter gun laws in light of several recent mass shootings, including the Newtown tragedy.

On Monday, President Barack Obama started his tour to rally support for his new bill, which calls for better background checks and a ban on high-powered and high-capacity rifles.

"In the coming weeks I'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens," he said.

Sheriffs in other northeast Florida counties, including St. Johns, Clay, Nassau and Baker, say they will enforce the Second Amendment and will not be taking guns away from people who have them legally.

In an emailed statement, Clay County Sheriff Rick Beseler said, "We should focus on restricting gun use by criminals and by the mentally ill through proper enforcement of these existing laws that carry swift justice with severe penalties. Government should not infringe on the rights of honest citizens to own and possess firearms of their choice."

A few weeks ago, Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford said, "I can promise the people this, though: I will never do anything unconstitutional, like take people's guns away from them or anything like that. That's never going to happen."