Florida sheriff wants assault weapon ban, end to private sales


At a meeting Tuesday night of the The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida held in Palm Coast, Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre called for a ban on “assault weapons,” said he wanted tighter regulation on private firearm sales, and called for changing existing laws on background checks.

According to a news story written about the meeting written by a reporter at

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre. Photo Copyright © 2014 News-JournalOnline.com

Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre. Photo Copyright © 2014 News-JournalOnline.com

the Daytona Beach News-Journal, the sheriff also said his “sensible gun control” ideas were supported by the Florida Sheriff’s Association.

Yesterday, Nanette Schimpf, spokesperson for the Florida Sheriff’s Association, told me the news story was inaccurate. The FSA has never called for ending private sales, banning “assault weapons” or changing background check laws.

“Basically, Sheriff Manfre – like every other sheriff – is a member of FSA, but the only sheriff who can speak on behalf of FSA is our president, Sheriff Grady Judd,” Schimpf told me.

Here’s an email she sent me:

In reading the article, I find there are a number of inaccurate statements which mischaracterize the position the Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) has taken on gun issues. These statements are as follows:

 1)      FSA supports a ban on assault weapons – FSA has never taken a position calling for a ban on assault weapons.

2)      FSA supports regulation of private gun sales that take place outside a licensed gun dealership – FSA has never taken a position calling for the regulation of private guns sales.

3)      FSA support changes to the background checks laws to include those who voluntarily commit themselves to institutions or rehab centers – FSA has never taken a position calling for changes to the existing laws for background checks.

4)      The gun bill that failed would have allowed people to openly carry of weapons while being evacuated during an emergency – The bill would not have allowed open carry of firearms during a declared emergency, but it would have suspended the concealed carry law allowing people to carry concealed weapons during that time.

5)      The gun law that passed will authorize someone to display a firearm or shoot it up in the air if they feel threatened – The bill does not authorize a person to fire a warning shoot, what it does is it gives prosecutors and the judges the discretion they need to determine if someone should be prosecuted under the 10/20/Life law which contains mandatory penalties for firearm related crime.

 I am sure you understand the sensitivities which surround this issue, so any assistance you can provide in setting the record straight as to the true position FSA has taken would be greatly appreciated.

I spoke to the reporter at the News-Journal yesterday, which is also owned by Halifax.

Schimpf and Steve Casey,  Executive Director of the Florida Sheriffs Association, had been lobbying her editors to have the story changed by removing the part where Sheriff Manfre said his gun control ideas were supported by the FSA.

Here’s the final version of her story. Some of Sheriff Manfre’s claims, in which he says FSA supports his ideas, have been removed.

His “sensible gun control” ideas, however, remain in print.

Flagler County sheriff discusses ‘sensible gun control’

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 5:24 p.m.

PALM COAST — Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre discussed his stance on “sensible gun control” from a law enforcement perspective during a Tuesday night meeting of about 35 people who are aiming to get Democrats elected in the county.

The Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida: Team Volusia-Flagler welcomed Manfre, one of four elected Democrats in the county, as guest speaker to address concerns regarding regulation of private gun sales and laws that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals, alcoholics and the mentally ill.

Manfre explained the difference between three types of guns, shared statistics about gun violence, outlined current legislation and described the history of gun regulation in the country.

“We are the ones out there every day protecting the public and there is a great concern in law enforcement about what (officers) face in terms of weapons,” Manfre said. He noted that the team’s Tuesday night meeting happened to fall on the same day as a ceremony to recognize Flagler law enforcement officers who died while on duty. “It’s something that keeps managers, sheriffs, police chiefs up at night, making sure people come home at night after watch; what type of weapons are out there and who has them.”

Under Florida law, weapons include anything from handguns to stun guns to knives, Manfre said. Americans own half of all the guns in the world and there are three different categories: handguns, long guns or rifles, and automatic guns such as machine guns, he said.

One thing Manfre said he and many other law enforcement officials would like to see in terms of sensible gun control is a ban on assault weapons.

“In my opinion, there is no reason to have an assault weapon,” he said.

Although there were 111 fallen officers nationwide last year, that is the lowest number of deaths in more than 50 years, Manfre said.

“Why do anything to move that figure up again?” he said.

The Florida Sheriffs Association has taken no position regarding assault weapons, or possible regulation of gun sales that take place outside of licensed gun dealerships, according to Steve Casey, the association’s executive director. While licensed gun dealers must now conduct a background screening before selling to a customer, there are no regulations regarding private sales.

The biggest issue with person-to-person sales, which often take place at gun shows, Manfre said, is that guns can be purchased by criminals or others who would not typically be allowed to obtain a weapon, such as alcoholics or the mentally ill.

However, Casey said Thursday his association has taken no position regarding calls for a more inclusive database for background checks that includes alcoholics and mentally ill people who voluntarily commit themselves to institutions or rehab centers. The database currently includes only those people who are involuntarily committed, Manfre said.

Manfre summarized two other recent pieces of legislation: one that failed would have allowed people to carry weapons openly while being evacuated during an emergency; another, which passed, allows a gun owner to display a weapon or shoot it up in the air if they feel endangered.

However, Manfre added that the chances of an average person having to confront an armed attacker are “a hundredth of a percent,” and only 1 percent of law enforcement members ever have to fire their gun in response to a crime.

“I think (Manfre) really put gun issues in perspective,” said Merrill Shapiro, the interim leader of the local Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida team, which started meeting a few months ago but is not officially chartered. “He helped to clarify that gun control is important and that he wants to keep the people under him safe.”

Copyright © 2014 News-JournalOnline.com — All rights reserved. Restricted use only.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. Pingback: More: Florida sheriff wants 'assault weapon' ban, end to private sales | The Gun Feed

  2. another ‘authority’ figure that does not care or understand our Constitution and its Bill of Rights….nor HIS oath to obey and defend the same……elected by uninformed voters….no hope for this Republic with these type of ‘Amerikan citizens’….imho

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  5. My senator is usually good on guns, Alan Hays. When I asked him about his bad vote on SB 296 he said a sheriff that he “respects a lot” asked him to vote no. I asked him if he represents us or the anti gun law enforcement officialdom and why LE is even listened to on civil rights issues. He didn’t get back to me.

  6. Doug Mann Sr on

    I have been an FSA donor for 13 years but I withheld this year. I hope FSA and Sheriffs like Manfre will realize their responsibility to uphold the U.S. Constitution and stop pandering to so called ‘progressive’ democrats. These ‘progressives’ only desire is to seize power while taking away American freedom…

  7. combatvet52 on

    Iv’e been donating to the Sheriffs for over 30 years looks like they will not see any more donations from me or my $25 members fee per year, at the same time the Florida Youth Camp will feel the jolt as well.

  8. Robert Bauer on

    Seeing as how the deputies and police always get to the scene in time to make a report say lets take there guns away, make sure they have a sharp pencil .We as none violent citizens can then be armed to protect ourselves. The time for a officer to respond is on the average 30 minuets. What happens then?

  9. I
    wonder how many Sheriffs in the state of Florida do stand up for the 2nd Amendment,mabe we should check…

  10. From theFlagler County Sheriffs Office:
    Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre’s career in law began shortly after his graduation from Fordham University, Bronx, New York. He spent four years as an investigator and trial preparation assistant for the Bronx and Kings Counties, New York District Attorney while attending St. Johns University School of Law, Queens, New York, graduating in 1984. He then spent twelve years as an Assistant District Attorney in Suffolk County, New York. He and his family then moved to Palm Coast, Florida in 1999, and from 2001 to 2005 he served as Flagler County Sheriff, bringing a new level of professionalism and excellence to the government agency. In 2006 he was admitted to the Florida Bar and practiced law in Flagler County until his election again as Sheriff of Flagler County in 2012.

    It would appear comrade Manfre is just another NY commie bureaucrat, not a real sheriff.



  13. And the sheriff will be there to protect everyone? He just prefers an unarmed society that he will police.

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  15. Steve Costa on

    Why don’t we just make it a crime for public officials to scheme and/or conspire to rob us of our rights and freedoms since the Constitution wasn’t clear enough for them. They are RIGHTS rights not privileges.

  16. Do you realize, these statements are coming from a Sheriff who..

    1. HAS NOT qualified or demonstrated proficiency with either of the two firearms he has issued to himself…in accordance with not only HIS own Agency Policy NOR rules set forth by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission.

    2. CANNOT dissemble, clean, re-assemble and cannot maintain these or any other firearms.

    3. Who SWORE an OATH to uphold our Federal and State Constitutional Rights…

    The entire Florida Sheriff’s Association made a Proclamation standing up to President Obama and firearms rights of citizens, but guess who was in opposition when this proclamation was made? This so called Sheriff.

    Questioning any of this, email me for documentation from his OWN Agency records!

  17. Pingback: Florida sheriff wants to stop private gun sales and implement an 'assault weapon' ban - Liberty Crier

  18. My response to Sheriff Manfre is, NO, we’re not going to permit that to happen. Further, Sheriff Manfre, you’ve now come to our notice and because you have, we’ll work to remove you from power.

    Removing you from power will enhance the safety of most citizens because we’ll be able to protect ourselves from ordinary criminals and government thugs like, well, like you.

    Keep smiling, that’s all you’ll be doing soon.

  19. This sheriff needs to read the US Constitution.. Also he needs to remove those stars from his collar BEFORE someone removes them.

  20. Sounds like Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre is a liar.

    Wake up people and make sure that treasonous idiot doesn’t get re-elected again.

    As a matter of fact Florida Law allows a recall as long as they have held office at least 25% of their term.


  21. Pingback: Florida: Sheriff Jim Manfre from Flagler County want to ban your rifle! | Dr. Rich Swier

  22. I think what that sheriff and his buddy said are typical of the Democrats and their Goals to CONTROL Everyone on the Planet

    When you read what the little weasel said he talks about “Everyone UNDER HIM” HE is the Paid Servant, Not the Other way around.
    QUOTE “I think (Manfre) really put gun issues in perspective,” said Merrill Shapiro, the interim leader of the local Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida team, which started meeting a few months ago but is not officially chartered. “He helped to clarify that gun control is important and that (he wants to keep the people under him) safe.”

  23. I wonder if the good sheriff is aware that an assault weapon IS an automatic weapon, and they have been under tight control for 50 years. If he’s referring to cosmetic attributes of assault weapon look-alikes, could he describe exactly which of those cosmetic features cause him to want to ban the weapon. Perhaps he feels that assault weapons (and presumably their cosmetic cousins) are intrinsically evil, in which case I’m sure that he has already removed all such enticements to immorality from his own inventory.

  24. Another “public servant”, sworn to uphold the Constitution of The United States, attempting to imposing his personal beliefs on the people of Florida. He sounds like a “Da*n Yankee. Here are my personal beliefs. Anyone running for public office MUST have been born in the state he is seeking office in. ALL local and state law enforcement officers, MUST have been born within the state. As a natural born Florida Cracker , whose ancestors voted for Florida statehood, I resent “outsiders” moving into what was once a beautiful state, demanding we do everything their way, tell us what we have been doing since 1840 is wrong. FSA please take your yankee ,socialist idea’s back where they belong (New York)!. Sorry abount the ranting but this 70 year old Cracker is feed up.

  25. what bothers me about this sheriff jim manfre he move here from the east coast, and it looks as though he wants to instill changes to our 2nd amend. like this lunatic bloomberg of n.y. WITH OUR 2ND. AMEND. THIS IS ON OF THE BIGGEST REASONS THIS COUNTRY DONE SO VERY WELL FOR THE LAST 238 YRS. WITH CITIZEN TO OWN FIRE ARMS. ANYONE WHO EVER THINKS ABOUT INSTILLING TYRANNY IN OUR GOVERNMENT, THIS IS THE REASON THE MORON OBAMA WANTS GUN CONTROL. MY MONEY IS ON THE PEOPLE.

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  27. This guy needs to be voted out of office at the next election. He does not understand nor support the Constitution and has no business in a position of authority.

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