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Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller displays a copy of the letter he sent to Vice President Joe Biden stating that he will not enforce any federal regulation requiring the sheriff's office to disarm law abiding citizens. (Mark Ylen/Democrat-Herald)

Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller has informed Vice President Joe Biden by certified letter that neither he nor his deputies will help federal agents take firearms away from law-abiding citizens.

On Tuesday, Biden presented President Barack Obama with a list of recommendations focusing on gun control, in the wake of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut a month ago in which 20 students and six adults died.

The president also has indicated he might invoke executive order to implement gun control regulations if elected officials cannot come together on the issue. Biden’s report is said to contain 19 steps the president could take through executive order, bypassing elected officials.

“In the wake of the recent criminal events, politicians are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by advocating for laws that would prevent honest, law-abiding Americans from possessing certain firearms,” Mueller noted in the letter.

“We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals — no matter how heinous the crimes — to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws.”

Mueller has worked for the sheriff’s office for 28 years and has twice been elected sheriff. He also served for three years as a military police officer in the U.S. Army.

He also wrote that the citizens of Linn County, “Have entrusted me with a noble cause: to keep them and their families safe. My deputies and I take that responsibility very seriously and like you, have sworn to support the Constitution of the United States. I take that oath equally as seriously as protecting our citizens.”

Mueller said neither he nor his deputies will enforce any regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the president that offends the constitutional rights of Linn County residents. Nor will he permit the enforcement of unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers with the borders of Linn County.

“It is the position of this sheriff that I refuse to participate, or stand idly by, while my citizens are turned into criminals due to the unconstitutional actions of misguided politicians,” Mueller noted.

Mueller said he sent a copy of the letter to other sheriffs around the state and “there has been lots of good feedback.”

Mueller said he is basing his actions on a 1997 Supreme Court decision that established separation of powers in that the federal government can’t compel state officers to enforce federal laws.

Although the president and vice president support an outright ban of what some call “assault weapons,” that might be a tough sell in Congress, especially since Republicans control the House of Representatives. Other considerations include banning the sale and ownership of high-capacity ammunition clips and more stringent tracking of gun sales and background checks of potential gun buyers.

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Alex Paul is the Linn County reporter for the Democrat-Herald. He can be contacted at 541-812-6114 or