By Jen Kastner
ECTOR COUNTY- Both Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson and Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter see some good in the president's plan to curb gun violence, unveiled in late January. The two agree that the nation needs better access to mental health services, which is outlined in the proposal.
When it comes to researching the effects of violent video games on behavior, Sheriff Donaldson sides with President Obama, believing it's an important step to take. Sheriff Painter, however, believes researching the effects of video games is a waste of time. He says he thinks the effects are obviously negative and that it doesn't take a research team to confirm that.
Yet when it comes to the proposal to ban military-style assault weapons, both sheriffs agree, claiming the effort is pointless.
Sheriff Donaldson says the nation needs to work on "fixing people, not fixing weapons."
He says, "I don't think banning something is going to be the answer. I can assure you that in some instances, with a sword I can do as much damage [as I can] with an assault rifle. It may take me a little longer but I can do as much damage."
Nowhere in the president's 23 executive actions to reduce gun violence is there any mention of plans to seize weapons from citizens' homes, but both sheriffs say they've been bombarded with concerns from locals who are worried an order like that could eventually take effect.
"I don't think that's ever going to pass. I don't think that's ever going to happen, but if for some reason it did happen, I'm not breaking the constitution. A Texas sheriff is here to uphold the constitution of this state and of the United States. The Fourth amendment gives people the right from unreasonable searches and seizures," Donaldson said.
At a luncheon on Thursday, Sheriff Painter took that same position.
"Number one, I don't think executive orders are constitutional. Number two, there's going to be one hell of a fight if 'they' try and take the guns out of my house. So, I'm not going to come after you," Painter said.
The two sheriffs say that they believe their sentiments on the matter are shared by most sheriffs around the country.