http://www.king5.com/topstories/stories/NW_040909WAB-mason-co-guns-KS.bc7bce1a.html 'Open season' declared on Mason Co. criminals 08:13 PM PDT on Thursday, April 9, 2009 SHELTON, Wash. -- In response to proposed public safety cuts in Mason County, a county commissioner is encouraging people to take up arms. Mason County prides itself on its gritty, rugged individualism. So much so that with the sheriff's department facing nearly $400,000 in cuts - up to five deputies - the county commissioner made a very public declaration. "It certainly is 'open season,'" said Tim Sheldon, chairman of the Mason County Commission. "There is no bag limit on criminals who try a home invasion in our communities." The commissioner suggests that if more people in his county armed themselves and got the proper training, it could help offset cuts to law enforcement. The sheriff's department worries such strong language could push people to vigilantism - and that gun-toting civilians taking the law into their own hands would put an ever greater strain on the sheriff's department. "It's not the wild west. It's not a frontier," said Deputy Chief Dean Byrd. "It would certainly increase our work load because not only are we investigating the crime the bad guys commit, but we are investigating a shooting and a potential crime there too." Sheldon is sticking to his guns. He believes half of all the people in Mason County are gun owners and would be more than willing to help fight crime. "I won't say vigilante days, but we’re back to days when there wasn't very much law around," Bob Clark said. "We live in a very remote area and it's a constant worry." Sheldon was quoted in a local newspaper as calling people on Seattle’s Queen Anne and Capitol Hill "wimps." He has since backed off that statement.