Opinion: Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik calls some state gun laws ‘the height of insanity’

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Some more political comments tonight from the sheriff investigating the now-infamous Tucson shootings of last Saturday.

At his initial news conference after the deaths of six people and wounding of 14 others, Shariff Clarence Dupnik could not provide much information because, he said, the investigation was just in its early stages. He wouldn’t even confirm the suspect’s name.


However, the 74-year-old career law enforcement officer did adamantly volunteer at least twice that overheated rhetoric and political sentiments in his state and across the country were responsible. His nationally-televised comments helped ignite a furious debate about the tone of political discourse, although there is as yet no evidence they bear on Saturday’s rampage.

Tonight, the sheriff told CBS News: ‘If you are in law enforcement and you are not a right-winger, you will get all kinds of heat from the right-wing nuts.’

Katie Couric asked if the sheriff was actually politicizing the shooting rampage by inserting his unsolicited comments on rhetoric when, so far, the facts made public indicate the accused shooter was a lone deranged individual. Dupnik ducked a direct answer, saying:

‘We’ll never know the answer to that because there’s no way to get into the heart and soul of a person to find out what their true motive is. And, second of all, we’re dealing with a very troubled personality.’

Dupnik then claimed, ‘I am not a political person, by nature. I’ve been a police officer my entire life. I have no agenda. But I was very, very angry. And I think that there are millions of people in this country who are very concerned about the tenor of things in this country particularly when it comes to politics.’

He noted, as a keen grasp of the obvious, that the United States was a very different place when he was growing up in the 1930-40’s.

Couric asked his opnion of laws that allow some individuals to carry weapons, concealed and otherwise.


Dupnik replied: ‘That’s the height of insanity.’ Then he added, presumably sarcastically, ‘Maybe they could pass a law that would require that every child have an Uzi in their crib.’

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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