Leon County Sheriff Responds to 2nd Amendment Criticism

Gun control
Posted at 6:21 PM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 05:58:14-05

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- One day after the National Rifle Association's past president pens a letter disapproving Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood's stance on two gun bills this legislative session, Sheriff Wood is now responding to the criticism.

Wood says that his priority is public safety as well as the safety of his deputies. And if both the "Open Carry" bill and the "Campus Carry" bill get passed, the safeties of both the public and his workers would be in jeopardy.

"I represent Leon County, I'm the Leon County sheriff and public safety is my responsibility", said Wood. "I'm have concerns about open carry. I think that present issues as it relates to officer safety."

That was in response to the recent email by Unified Sportsmen of Florida executive director Marion Hammer. She sent the email to NRA members across the state.

"Those who already carry all around Tallahassee, in the shopping malls, grocery stores, movie theaters -- are not a problem now", said Hammer. "[They] won't be a problem then, but they have a right to carry for their own self defense."

Sheriff Wood's issues involve stresses of college students and that the stress adds to potential safety concerns for those who attend the campuses.

"I think there is a lot of volatility, certainly the people that would be carrying are 21 or over, but the campuses are certainly filled with folks that are young, they're away from home, there is a lot of pressures," said Wood.

Hammer, who is also the past president of the NRA, adds that while Wood claims his support for the Second Amendment, his actions raise concern.

"Emotional speculation about officer safety and problems with license holders is just plain wrong," said Hammer.

Both carry bills still have to go through the Florida Senate for approval.

The full email sent by Hammer can be read below:

Sheriff Larry Campbell would probably be truly disappointed in the anti-Second Amendment activities of his successor Sheriff Mike Wood. Sheriff Campbell stood up to the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and refused to participate in their antigun and anti-Second Amendment activities.

He never testified against the NRA's position in legislative committee hearings and didn't send a deputy to represent him or LCSO on issues against law-abiding gun owners.

Maintaining a close relationship with Second Amendment leaders in our state, Sheriff Larry Campbell was a strong Second Amendment supporter.

To the contrary, Sheriff Mike Wood has made it clear that he stands against the Second Amendment rights of Leon County's law-abiding gun owners. While claiming to be a Second Amendment supporter, his words say one thing and his actions say quite the opposite.

Further, while serving out the balance of Sheriff Campbell's term in office, Sheriff Wood is setting a precedent of working against Second Amendment rights.

On January 28, 2016, he sent a deputy, Capt. Jimmy Williams, to support a Florida Sheriffs Association Amendment to GUT Rep. Matt Gaetz's HB-163 to allow people with concealed carry licenses to also carry openly.

Further, the TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT, in an article on 2/3/16 titled, "Mayor Gillum, Sheriff Wood oppose gun bills" reported the following: "Leon County Sheriff Mike Wood and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum oppose two bills in the Florida Legislature that would expand the right to carry firearms in Florida's public spaces and college campuses."

Wood -- a Second Amendment supporter who shoots recreational firearms -- raised legal and enforcement concerns, particularly with the open carry bill. He supports the current state law that allows the carrying of concealed weapons.

"I'm opposed to campus carry and I'm opposed to open carry," Wood said. "It doesn't make us any safer."

The Tallahassee Police Department has not taken a position on either bill and said it will simply enforce the laws legislators pass.

"The Tallahassee Police Department is charged with upholding the laws of the state of Florida and will act accordingly with the outcome of all proposed bills," said TPD spokesman Officer David Northway.

Sheriff Mike Wood needs to hear from you. Ask him if he is spending your tax dollars to lobby against your Second Amendment rights or if he is forcing a deputy to use his personal leave time to represent the LCSO against the rights of Leon County's law abiding gun owners. Ask him why he is violating his oath of office by lobbying against constitutional rights he swore to uphold.

You should email Sheriff Wood at the following email address