By Mike Giorgino

Republican candidate John Hemmerling will be the most pro-Second Amendment San Diego County Sheriff in more than 30 years!

Hemmerling supports Carry Concealed Weapon (CCW) licenses without any reservations. He believes the Sheriff’s current CCW process (overseen by Undersheriff Kelly Martinez) is too onerous. As Sheriff, Hemmerling will make the CCW application process simple and clear for everyone. He will ensure there is a quick turnaround and direct that the Sheriff’s Office “shall issue” concealed carry permits on constitutional self-defense grounds for all persons who pass background investigation.

How frustrating to see that non-Republican Michael Schwartz at Gun Owners of San Diego has launched a smear campaign against John Hemmerling. In an ambush interview last week, Schwartz asked Hemmerling, “what do you think about gun violence restraining orders?” When Hemmerling started to respond that they were a “good tool in the community,” Schwartz immediately condemned him, stating: “Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard about you. Listen, man in no universe are you pro-Second Amendment.”

Gun violence restraining orders (GVRO’s) reduce gun violence by removing firearms from individuals who pose a real threat to themselves or others. Police and sheriffs throughout the state, including in this county, use them regularly. However only a judge can grant them. At the GVRO hearing, the respondent will be present, may be represented by counsel, and can present evidence, including testimony and witnesses.

Here are some recent cases where San Diego law enforcement requested and the Court issued GVRO’s:

– While arguing in front of their children, a man held a gun up to his wife’s head and threatened to shoot her.

– A woman whose husband had strangled and battered her reported that he pointed his gun at her head and said, “I should just put a bullet through your skull.” When she said she was leaving him, he threatened to shoot himself in front of their children.

– A man who lived with his elderly parents battered and punched his mother and said he was going to buy a gun and kill both his parents and the family dog.

– During an argument a man fired a gun into the mattress inches from where his wife was lying, saying, “I can kill you if I want to.”

– A former Marine suffering from PTSD visited an auto repair shop. He believed the employees were enemy agents and went to his car to retrieve a hand gun to eliminate them. In a lucid moment, he called the police on himself and waited for them to arrive.

If support for GVRO’s is disqualifying, then the two Democrats in the race should also be disqualified. Kelly Martinez’s website states, “The [Sheriff’s] Department seized over 2,000 weapons in 2021. Violent crime where guns were used increased during the year and Kelly is driven to remove guns from those with ill-intent.” Her office requests GVRO’s exactly the same way as every other law enforcement agency in the state.

Former Sheriff’s Department Commander Dave Myers says nothing about GVRO’s on his website. Yet he gleefully celebrated Schwartz’s attacks against Hemmerling on Twitter. The California Democrat Party strongly “supports providing necessary resources and funding to implement and enforce California’s strong gun laws, including … GVRO.” So where does Democrat-endorsed Myers really stand on GVRO’s?

Since August 2021, anti-Second Amendment activist Max Coston has served as Myers for Sheriff’s Communications Director. Coston is the President of the David Hogg-inspired San Diego March for Our Lives. On January 12, 2022, Myers’ campaign spokesman Coston tweeted: “Gun Violence Restraining orders work and save lives! Thank you @CityAttorneySD @MaraWElliott and Jeff Brooker of the Gun Violence Response Unit for bold action to save lives!”

John Hemmerling heads the Criminal Division in the San Diego City Attorney’s Office. It was my great honor to serve as his number two Criminal Prosecutor before I retired in 2019. He is a retired Marine Corps Reserve Colonel and a combat veteran of the Gulf and Iraq Wars. He served as top legal advisor for the Chief of Police in San Diego for many years. He was also a San Diego Police Officer for almost a decade–a beat cop in Mid-City, the toughest, most crime-ridden division in the city.

We Republicans must push back against this misguided attack against the best candidate for Sheriff in a generation—not just best on CCW’s, best period! John Hemmerling is both tough on crime and a leader in criminal justice reform. He is an uncompromising supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms who is dedicated to ending senseless gun violence. In short, John is just what we need for our new Sheriff: A tough, smart, dedicated patriot!

The alternative is to give outsiders like Schwartz the power to veto our Republican candidates and surrender one more county office into the hands of the Democrats.

Mike Giorgino is a retired Navy Surface Warfare Commander and a Gulf War veteran. He retired as Chief of Prosecution Operations for the San Diego City Attorney’s Office in 2019. He may be contacted at mgiorgino@aol.com.