Sheriff Calls Gun Laws 'Height of Insanity'

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in an interview with Katie Couric, Jan. 10, 2011.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik in an interview with Katie Couric, Jan. 10, 2011.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- One law enforcement official has been thrust into the national spotlight -- for some remarks he made following the shooting.

On Saturday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, a Democrat, blamed the rampage in part on overheated political rhetoric, saying Arizona has become "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

Some Republicans have called his remarks irresponsible. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric spoke with the Sheriff today and he's not backing down.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik: 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: But some people would say you are overly-politicizing this situation. That it appears at this juncture, although it's unclear, that this was a lone, deranged individual that might not have been inspired to do this at all for political reasons.

Dupnik: 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

Couric: You stand by what you said over the weekend.

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

Couric: How does this community heal?

Dupnik: I think this country needs to tone it down. When I was growing up, it was a different country.

Couric: There are also laws that allow you to take concealed or non-concealed weapons and carry them with you at all times. Is that correct?

Dupnik: That is absolutely correct. That's the height of insanity. I don't know what else they can do. Maybe they could pass a law that would require that every child have an Uzi in their crib.