Local police chiefs weigh in on gun debate

Milaca Police Chief Todd Quaintance
Milaca Police Chief Todd Quaintance

Princeton Union-Eagle

Police Chiefs Brian Payne in Princeton and Todd Quaintance in Milaca oppose stricter gun controls.

The two police chiefs gave those viewpoints during interviews last week, nearly a month after a massacre in Newtown, Conn., in which the shooter left 27 dead before taking his life.

The massacre, another in a long line of mass shootings in schools in the past dozen years, spurred a renewed debate on gun control. The debate has proponents on both sides voicing strong opinions on gun control.

Quaintance, besides being Milaca’s police chief for more than a year, has been a volunteer firearms safety instructor with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) since the late 1990s.

Asked for his stance in the gun control debate, Quaintance said: “I’m not a person who believes gun control laws will prevent all the shootings that are happening.”

People intent on doing harm with firearms will still be able to get them through taking firearms that others have obtained legally, and that is the case in so many shootings, Quaintance explained.

Ideas for stemming the violence?

Quaintance recommends that all of the community, including school-age persons, “get involved” in trying to prevent violence with firearms, because law enforcement can’t by itself be the answer. If someone has any indication that a shooting will or might take place, they should immediately contact law enforcement or another authority figure that can act on that information, Quaintance said.

“If the community understands the importance of reporting potential behavior, then law enforcement and the community can come together to prevent,” he said. In most mass killings, someone had an indicator that it was about to occur, “and people should not stand by quietly and let bad things happen to other people.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, Jan. 17 print edition of the Times.