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Two Oklahoma police chiefs get caught in gun issue's political crossfire

Two Oklahoma police chiefs attending a national conference on prevention of gun violence say their appearance at a Senate hearing was misinterpreted by some to mean they support a bill that would ban assault weapons.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: March 1, 2013 at 8:25 pm •  Published: March 1, 2013

“Politicians use everyone else as props,” Gaddie said.

“By calling them by name it creates the perception of support when, really, they just happen to be in the room.”

The decorum of a Senate hearing doesn't allow them to protest on the spot, Gaddie said, “so they find themselves in the position of having to defend themselves after the fact.”

Humphrey said most people who have called his office “were just concerned. They were disappointed at what they perceived my position was, but once I explained it, they were fine.”

No one was rude, and, in fact, he said, “some even apologized because they realized I was caught in the crossfire.”

While in Washington, the two police chiefs said they met with Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, and Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, to discuss legislation that would tighten laws governing background checks.

“None of us discussed any bans on weapons,” Green said.

Humphrey said the conference was a collaboration of nine nationally recognized professional law enforcement organizations that comprise the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence.

“Before I accepted an invitation to attend,” Humphrey said, “I made it perfectly clear that my focus would be on enhancement of background checks for criminals and people that have been declared mentally ill. I don't want guns to fall into the hands of the wrong people. That's my concern. Law-abiding citizens are not the problem.”

Both police chiefs said loopholes in the current gun-registration laws allow people to buy weapons at gun shows without background checks. They would like to see that change.

“I'd like the requirements to be equal for anyone purchasing a gun,” Green said.

by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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