updated 11/11/2008 9:33:30 AM ET 2008-11-11T14:33:30

The sheriff of Los Angeles County plans to prohibit his off-duty deputies from carrying their guns while drinking because several have been accused in recent years of firing weapons while intoxicated.

Sheriff Lee Baca said there has been a disturbing rise in alcohol-fueled misbehavior among his deputies.

Since 2004, more than a dozen deputies have been accused of brandishing or shooting a gun while under the influence of alcohol.

More than 60 have been arrested this year on alcohol-related charges, most for driving under the influence and most of them armed at the time.

The deputies' union opposes the restriction. Union leader Steve Remige said it would let criminals know that deputies who had put them away would at times be unarmed.

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