Gun Rights, Experience Separate Dubuque County Sheriff Candidates

By Katie Wiedemann, Reporter

DUBUQUE, Iowa - For the first time in almost 30 years, two candidates are running for Dubuque County Sheriff. There hasn't been a contested race for that position since 1984.

Current Sheriff, Don Vrotsos, was appointed to the position after Ken Runde retired in 2010. Vrotsos has been with the Department since 1978. "38 years of law enforcement experience versus somebody that has none,to me, makes a big difference," Vrotsos said.

Mike Demory, a minister and Cedar Rapids native, is challenging Vrotsos. Pastor Mike Demory moved to Dubuque in 2005 to start a new congregation. "If the state of Iowa says I'm qualified to run without law enforcement experience who is anybody to challenge that?" Demory believes Sheriff Vrotsos is unfair when it comes to issuing gun permits. "Wen he first took office he didn't issue permits to anybody. His idea of a responsible person is law enforcement only. "

Vrotsos says that's simply not true. He was appointed as sheriff less than two months before Iowa became a "shall issue" state. During that time he says he issued a permit to carry a gun to every person who applied. He admits he denied 14 people who wanted to purchase a gun. "As law enforcement, we do have information about individuals that the normal citizen would not have," Vrotsos said. "I am going to use that information if it's available to me."

Demory said, "Vrotsos took an oath to defend the constitution. That is the law. And so he's breaking is oath of office by not allowing people to have guns."
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