A letter that was sent to President Barack Obama last week by the Utah Sheriff's Association concerning his executive orders and suggestions to Congress on how to act on the issue of gun violence had the signatures of most of the county sheriffs in the state.
However, at least one of those signatures was electronic and not necessarily reflective of the views of the person it belongs to, Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova.
"I did not formally sign that letter," said the Sheriff on the phone in a short conversation with the Sun Advocate on Tuesday afternoon. "I would not take that heavy of a stand."
The letter that was released to the press on Monday by Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds, president of the group, stated that the association's members would not allow federal officials to come in and take away citizens' guns.
"We acknowledge that that hasn't happened yet," Sheriff Edmunds told KUTV News. "But (concerning) all that we're hearing from the Obama administration and their surrogates, we believe that they are trying to make a grab at guns."
The letter stated a number of things including the empathy the association has for Sandy Hook, Conn. residents (shooting at the elementary school there last month) and how Utah was not immune to that kind of thing (Trolley Square shootings that took nine lives). But it also stated that the Utah Sheriff's Association feels that the way the President is going about controlling the mayhem is wrong.
"With the number of mass shootings America has endured, it is easy to demonize firearms; it is also foolish and prejudiced," stated the letter. "Firearms are nothing more than instruments, valuable and potentially dangerous, but instruments nonetheless. Malevolent souls, like the criminals who commit mass murders, will always exploit valuable instruments in the pursuit of evil. As professional peace officers, if we understand nothing else, we understand this: lawful violence must sometimes be employed to deter and stop criminal violence. Consequently, the citizenry must continue its ability to keep and bear arms, including arms that adequately protect them from all types of illegality."
Cordova said the letter came to him through email, but he did not get to look at it before it was sent out, and did not inform them to go ahead and use his signature.
"It is my job to uphold the law and defend the Constitution," he said. "They used electronic signatures after the fact."
Probably the passage in the letter that has garnered the most attention is the one where the association tells the President that they will not allow the confiscation of firearms.
"No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights-in particular Amendment II-has given them," stated the letter.
The correspondence had gone viral as of Tuesday afternoon and its contents were being reported on blogs, electronic bulletin boards and in newspapers around the country. Statewide media had reported that Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder did not sign the letter, but then he is not a member of the association. He pulled his department out of it last year.
As of Tuesday the upstate media had not reported that other sheriffs many have been in the same boat as Cordova. It is unknown how many of them actually saw the letter before it was sent.