Botetourt County sheriff candidate can't legally carry gun

William Stowell, a former Air Force police officer, is running as an independent

BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. – William Stowell, a candidate for Botetourt County sheriff, wants to carry the badge even though he can’t legally carry a gun.

He became a convicted felon after his third DUI offense. He pleaded guilty and spent three months in jail. He’s open about having been an alcoholic for years after leaving the military.

The 37-year-old former Air Force police officer, who’s lived in Botetourt County since 1994, is running as an independent and said he’s fit for the job.

He believes many felons like him are unfairly stigmatized. 

“When you hear of a convicted felon, you think somebody’s a murderer or a rapist or an arsonist and that’s not the case. You could become a convicted felon for drag racing,” Stowell said.

He said he wouldn’t want to resort to using a gun anyway, but he is working to get his gun rights restored. He believes the fact that he can’t currently carry a gun legally wouldn't be a problem for him if he became sheriff.

“I’m not here to rely on having a firearm,” Stowell said.

10 News asked him about situations like the one deputies in the county faced in December, in which they pulled out their guns after chasing a murder suspect.