Merced County Sheriff Says Gun in D.A.’s Office is a “Non-Issue”

Merced County District Attorney Larry Morse II did not violate any laws by keeping a firearm inside his office, County Sheriff Vern Warnke confirmed Thursday. The issue, which was once investigated by the California attorney general’s office, is now a “nonissue,” Warnke said, adding that the probe has officially been closed.

“I’m glad they made the determination, and we’re looking forward to moving on to other issues” the sheriff said. “This was put on my desk when I first took office, and there had been some (political) issues then. I’m the new sheriff, it’s a new era now, and I’m in total agreement with the attorney general and with Larry that this is a nonissue.”

Morse was not surprised by the findings and said he always knew he was within his legal rights.

“This was a complete nonissue created by a few people with a political agenda,” Morse stated.

Questions over Morse’s possession of a .38-caliber weapon arose after his son was investigated and arrested on homicide charges. His son was later cleared in the case, which created palpable tension between the D.A. and members of the Sheriff’s Department.

Deputies had argued that California Penal Code section 171b prohibits anyone from bringing a firearm into a “public building,” but there were questions as to whether this case applied under the law.

Despite the public controversy, both Morse and the department insist they are committed to working together to promote public safety in Merced.

Read more about the sheriff’s announcement here.


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