"I can almost recite it by heart," said Oda, known for his vocal support of gun rights.
But Minority Leader Jennifer Seelig said she simply couldn't back the letter's message.
Seelig, a Democrat from Salt Lake City, was at Trolley Square Feb. 12, 2007, when a gunman entered the mall and killed five people while wounding four others. She was getting her nails done at a salon when she heard the gunshots and had to hide in a storage closet before a swat team killed Sulejman Talovic during the young man's shooting spree.
Seelig made mention of her experience at Trolley Square making sure to thank the sheriff for doing his job and specifically thanking the police at the massacre.
But she felt the letter went too far.
"I am curious about other constitutional rights and how that would fit into your weighing of this issue like property rights and the supremacy clause," Seelig said.
But Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, said he was grateful for the sheriffs' stance on guns.
"That was a risk on your part and I appreciate it," Ray said.
The issue of firearms is expected to be a hot issue this legislative session in the wake of Obama's proposals to require tougher background checks, reduce magazine capacity on guns and ban assault weapons.
There is a measure being proposed to make Utah just one of a handful of so-called constitutional carry states where a concealed weapon permit isn't needed to be in possession of a gun. And a freshman lawmaker, Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, will introduce a bill that would grant sheriffs the ability to arrest federal authorities attempting to take guns from Utah residents.
The letter, in fact, warns that "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."
But Dekker was less confrontational in front of the committee.
"We're not going to be standing at the border with our rifles," he said.
Obama's proposals, which would require congressional approval to take effect, do not call for a retroactive ban or confiscation of firearms that are currently legal.