Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and several law enforcement leaders met with Vice President Joe Biden at the White House Dec. 20 to discuss gun violence in the aftermath of the Connecticut school tragedy.
The meeting included senior officials from President Obama’s administration as well as members of the President’s cabinet. The law enforcement leaders who attended — all represent national organizations. Sheriff Stanek is the president of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association (MCSA) and its members are sheriffs from large counties throughout the U.S. Members of the MCSA represent 100 million Americans.
“On behalf of the Major County Sheriffs’ Association, I was pleased to meet today with Vice President Biden and law enforcement leaders from across the country on this very important conversation on guns and extreme violence,” said Sheriff Stanek. “This is a complex problem and today’s discussion is a real opportunity to work together to identify real solutions.”
Other law enforcement leaders at the meeting represented national groups including the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriffs’ Association. The discussions covered a wide range of topics such as reducing gun violence nationally, assault weapons, closing gun show loopholes, fighting illegal firearms, and additional resources to enforce existing firearms laws.
Sheriff Stanek raised the issue of untreated mental illness with the Vice President.
“We have an access problem,” said Sheriff Stanek. “Individuals with severe mental illness should never have access to guns. There is a strong link between untreated mental illness and the increase risk of committing violent acts, including homicide.”
Sheriff Stanek advocated for improved law enforcement access to mental health records for background checks, for responding to 911 calls and for detention professionals. Several weeks ago, he launched a new effort on this issue as it relates to untreated mental illness and his concern for the mentally ill housed in the Hennepin County jail.
Following the meeting with the Vice President, Sheriff Stanek and other law enforcement leaders met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Capitol Hill.