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This is an unedited response from Sheriff Gilbertson to our alert of 10.30.09 which can be seen here.

Mr. Starret,

First, for anyone to suggest I am against the 2nd Amendment is either a liar, or at the very least, misinformed. I have always believed in the Constitution. In fact, I have put my life on the line in numerous conflicts, throughout the world, to preserve and promote our way of life.

We are a poor County. The O&C timber revenue has always supported county law enforcement. The loss of that revenue is proportionate to the level of service we can provide. One of our responsibilities (under ORS) is to provide Court security. We lack the funding to provide 24/7 coverage of patrol, only use 43% of our jail, lack adequate support in court security, amongst other duties – so, we spread out what we have to the best we can.

I have personally provided public classes to our citizens on how to defend themselves, which includes the use of various levels of force. We are weak in law enforcement in this County and I believe it a duty for this Sheriff to provide the public with the knowledge on how to legally protect themselves, others, and their families.

To take guns away from citizens lessening their ability to protect themselves, especially given our weak law enforcement presences, would be a true injustice that I will not abide by. As long as I remain Sheriff of this County, I will fight to uphold our Constitutional rights.

Many of you have already condemned me, and even made threats, without understanding what occurred in Josephine County. A Commissioner asked the Court for permission to carry a concealed weapon within the Courthouse. That decision falls under the authority of the Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) and the presiding Judges, not the Sheriff.

Possession of weapon or destructive device in public building or court facility:

Oregon law 166.360 Definitions for ORS 166.360 to 166.380. As used in ORS 166.360 to 166.380, unless context requires otherwise:
Para (2) “Court facility” means a courthouse or that portion of any other building occupied by a circuit court, the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court or the Oregon Tax Court or occupied by personnel related to the operations of those courts, or in which activities related to the operations of those courts take place.

Further, the following is a decision on this matter from Josephine County Judges: This memo comes from the Court Administrator to County Legal Counsel –

“I am writing in reply to your memo dated October 22, 2009 regarding a Presiding Judge Order to authorize a County Commissioner to carry a concealed firearm.

You referenced the 2005 Presiding Judge Order that was rescinded in 2007 and the possibility of renewing the Order.

I discussed your memo with Presiding Judge Lindi Baker and she has conferred with the other judges. All of the judges agree the current Presiding Judge Order prohibiting weapons in a court facility by anyone other than law enforcement while on duty is in the best interest of court security.

The National Center for State Courts (NCSC) conducted an on-site assessment for Josephine County in 2008 that evaluated our court facilities, including our court security policies and procedures. A fundamental principle of courthouse security is to restrict all weapons and to have only trained law enforcement personnel carry firearms.

It is critical that we provide a safe and secure environment for both our employees and the hundreds of customers who visit the courts and courthouse on a daily basis. In accordance with ORS 166.360 and our current Presiding Judge Order Banning Firearms, we do not support any non-law enforcement personnel carrying a concealed weapon. Judge Baker will not amend the Order to allow County Commissioners to carry weapons in the courthouse.”

I support the 2nd Amendment and an individual’s “right” to defend themselves, or others.
Gil Gilbertson,
Josephine County Sheriff