Since President Obama announced his gun control agenda last week, over 120 sheriffs around the country have vowed not to enforce any new federal gun law or ban that they deem to be unconstitutional.
While that number continues to grow (Examiner.com is keeping an updated list of sheriffs who make the pledge) one sheriff has spoken out against this grassroots movement of honorably defiant lawmen.
On Tuesday, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson issued a statement criticizing his peers for overstepping their authority.
“Public safety professionals serving in the executive branch do not have the constitutional authority, responsibility, and in most cases, the credentials to determine the constitutionality of any issue,” Robinson said in a statement.
Robinson added that law enforcement should let the courts make the determination as to whether a law passes constitutional muster or not.
“Acts of violence and gun violence have and will, sadly, continue to victimize our community and our country,” said Robinson, a self-described supporter of the Second Amendment.
“We all have an obligation to our families, neighbors, our community and our country to be engaged and to demand that well-considered, meaningful, and sustainable solutions to these senseless acts of violence are implemented in a timely manner,” he continued.
Robinson’s jurisdiction includes Aurora, CO, the site of the movie theater shooting last July where a deranged gunman shot 70 people, killing 12 of them, during a screening of the Batman movie: “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Commentary and Analysis
For those sheriffs who’ve made the pledge, the decision to do so seems to be as much about protecting the constitutional rights of citizens as it does about protecting the hides of their deputies.
Let’s face facts, and speaking in terms practicality, if an outright federal gun ban was enacted, would you want to send your deputies out, door-to-door, to confiscate firearms from a well-armed and well-trained populace?
Sheriff Denny Peyman of Jackson County, KY, intimated as much in an interview with NBC News last week.
“Kentucky is a sovereign state,” said Sheriff Peyman. “The federal government is coming in and saying, ‘This is what you’re going to do.’ We’re not going to do it.”
“Let’s say I know there’s a thousand assault weapons in my county,” Peyman said. “I’m not going to be a witch hunter and go door to door checking.”
No kidding. Only a fool (or a man with a death wish) would subject himself or his men to that task.
Peyman’s sentiments were echoed by Sheriff Robert Maciol from Oneida County, NY, who is having a hard time figuring out how to enforce Gov. Cuomo’s new gun laws, one of which will ban the possession of unregistered ‘assault weapons’ and magazines holding more than 7 rounds.
“We don’t know where these guns are because they’re not registered and again I will not and I certainly don’t have the manpower to start going to every person in Oneida County to see if they have a gun. I mean, we’re not going to be doing that,” said Maciol.
According to Maciol, his office is receiving 20 calls per day from concerned citizens with questions about Cuomo’s package of laws.
“We are still learning exactly what the law is telling us…what the law is detailing. There’s a lot of unanswered questions,” Maciol told WKTV.
To circle back to Sheriff Robinson, he’s got to understand where his fellow lawmen are coming from. This is not only a constitutional issue, but a safety issue as well. Sure, not every gun owner would resist handing over his/her AR-15 to the authorities, but at the same time, not every gun owner would peaceably comply either.
With respect to this scenario, if a law enforcement official knocked on your door and demanded that you give up several of your firearms, how would you respond?
(Note: months ago I would have dismissed this question as being absurdly hypothetical, though now, post Sandy Hook and following the passage of Cuomo’s gun laws, it seems like a very legitimate question to ask).