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Sheriff will brief voters on levy, laws

April 13, 2012  Mail Tribune

Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson says he's heard from residents who relish the thought of taking the law into their own hands.

"We often hear the comment they can take care of things with a gun and a backhoe," he said.

One resident said he would protect his property against criminals with his shotgun.

"He said, 'If you come by my house, you'll leave in a body bag,' " Gilbertson said.

Gilbertson has set a series of seminars explaining a criminal justice levy on the May ballot, the consequences if it doesn't pass, and how residents can defend themselves under Oregon law.

"It's just a matter of time before somebody gets shot and killed," he said.

If someone breaks into your house, you can only shoot if you feel you are being threatened, Gilbertson said. Just because burglars have a TV set under their arms doesn't mean they are threatening you, he explained.

Those who shoot another person must be able to justify their actions because they could face criminal or civil liability, he said.

"When you take someone's life, you better be prepared to survive the aftermath," he said. "It's a difficult thing to live with."

Those who may be cleared of criminal liability could still face potential civil liability, he warned.

Gilbertson will give his presentations at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 2, at the Josephine County Fairgrounds Floral Building, 1451 Fairgrounds Road, Grants Pass, and at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 3, at the Cave Junction County Building, 102 S. Redwood Highway, Cave Junction.

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