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Sheriff Bishop jumps the gun

Curry County Sheriff John Bishop revealed last week that he is human – and susceptible to making mistakes.

It didn’t help, though, that he made a doozy of a mistake in front of the entire community — and the world — with his Jan. 16 Public Forum in the Pilot. 

His words sparked a firestorm of letters to the editor (more than 50 at last count), with some citizens criticizing him, and others covering his back.

Bishop, responding to potential gun control proposals being presented by Congressional representatives, declared that he would not enforce Executive Orders from the president that he and other Oregon sheriffs believed violated the Second Amendment.

The declaration was premature. When Obama released his actual gun control plans a day later, Bishop found that his worries were for naught – There was nothing in the Executive Orders that violated the Second Amendment.

In fact, Bishop said, Oregon already is doing most of what the president ordered.

In hindsight, Bishop said, “I could have written the letter better. I should have softened it some, but I still feel very strongly about the issue.”

That’s as close to a “mea culpa” as we’re likely to get from Bishop. 

We don’t doubt the sincerity of Bishop and his colleagues, and we can’t fault the sheriff for being passionate about what he believes in — as do the many citizens who support him. But we can justifiably  him for voicing that passion before there was something official.

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