As stated in the previous article, electing local office-seekers who are friendly to gun owners is vital. For instance, the sheriff’s race in Sebastian County is shaping up to be a very intriguing one.
In September of 2004, the useless federal assault weapon ban was allowed to expire. A week after this expiration, Frank Atkinson was interviewed by the Southwest Times Record about the ban:
Sebastian County Sheriff Frank Atkinson said he supports the constitutional right to bear arms but can think of no legitimate reason for a person not involved in law enforcement to own any of the 19 semiautomatic assault weapons named in the ban.
“I’ve been a member of the NRA for probably 25 years, and an avid hunter, but I have never used weapons that are on that list for anything other than law enforcement work”, Atkinson said.
More than five years have passed since Sheriff Atkinson made those very strong anti-gun statements. In a recent email, his views seemed to have changed quite a bit:
In my opinion on assault weapons is that bans only effect law abiding citizens, the criminals can always obtain them through black market… Also I’m an avid hunter and a life member of the NRA.
Whether Sheriff Atkinson’s opponent, Bill Hollenbeck, knew about Atkinson’s 2004 stance is unknown. In a message sent the same day as Sheriff Atkinson’s, Mr. Hollenbeck made the following statement when asked whether he thought the assault weapon ban should be reinstated:
I am a strong believer of the 2nd amendment. I believe that the ban should not be reinstated. If you are not a convicted felon you have the right, guaranteed by our constitution to bear arms. The constitution does not say that you can not own an assault weapon.
“I know of several good friends from attorneys to other hard working honest citizens who collect as well enjoy the great sport of shooting and hunting. Let us not punish the men and women who are supporters of the constitution as well as good citizens who work hard each and every day and pay their fair share of taxes. Let us go after the criminal element who decides to commit crimes and punish them for using firearms in the commission of that crime.”
Judging from these public statements, both candidates are against any further banning of these semi-automatic weapons. Sheriff Atkinson has shown he is able to change his mind on gun owner issues, and hopefully he won’t ever swing back the other way. Bill Hollenbeck has made a public stand on the right to bear arms, and if he is elected his actions will be watched closely.
Hats off to Lee Watson for his valuable contribution to this article.
Enjoy this article? Receive email alerts when new articles have been published. Just click on the “Subscribe” button above.
More Examiner articles:
TN candidates respond to gun rights quiz – TN 2nd US District: Leinweber
McDonald v. Chicago: Is ‘incorporation’ a distinction without a difference?
What is really being argued in McDonald v. Chicago and why do we care? Part One – Case Background
Illinois defensive handgun carry bill clears first hurdle
Is the Brady Campaign running out of bullets?
Safer Streets 2010: You won’t get safer streets with Hate.
Is it water or Kool Aid that politicians drink? It certainly isn’t coffee, espresso or latte!
More from Gun Rights Examiners
Atlanta: Ed Stone | Austin: Howard Nemerov | Boston: Ron Bokleman | Charlotte: Paul Valone | Cheyenne: Anthony Bouchard | Chicago: Don Gwinn | Cleveland: Daniel White | DC: Mike Stollenwerk | Denver: Dan Bidstrup | Fort Smith: Steve D. Jones | Grand Rapids: Skip Coryel | Knoxville: Liston Matthews | | Los Angeles: John Longenecker | Minneapolis: John Pierce | National: Dan | Phoenix: Douglas Little | Pittsburgh: Dan Campbell | Seattle: Dave Workman | St. Louis: Kurt Hofmann | Tucson: Chris Woodard | Wisconsin: Gene German