Sheriffs try to calm gun crowd
Four western Colorado sheriffs told about 160 people Wednesday night that they would be guided by the U.S. Constitution in dealing with overreaches by the federal government.
The four — Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey, Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee, Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario and Montrose County Sheriff Rick Dunlap — emphasized that they had strong and beneficial partnerships with federal law enforcement officials and emphasized that they would stand by the Second Amendment.
They also said they welcomed more information about Agenda 21, a United Nations program that last came up during the gubernatorial campaign when Republican candidate and eventual nominee Dan Maes questioned a bicycle-sharing program in Denver that was fashioned under the program.
The first questioner, Joe Jarvis, set the tone for the meeting in the Masonic Lodge meeting hall when he asked, “Are you with us or against us?”
Another questioner later put a finer point on it, demanding to know whether the sheriff would stand against federal forces “when the tanks are rolling down the street” and federal agencies are moving to confiscate guns.
Such a scenario is farfetched and unwelcome even to many of the “federal partners” with whom the sheriffs work on a daily basis, Hilkey said.
Strong relationships with agencies such as the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service and others would give local officials such as sheriffs plenty of warning should such an event take shape, Hilkey said.
“No, we’re not in favor of confiscation in any way, shape or form,” Hilkey said. “This is a question we get asked a lot” and Colorado sheriffs are of like mind in supporting the Second Amendment.
If anything, the sheriffs suggested,laws are too restrictive already on gun ownership.
“It’s a crying shame that lawful citizen has to have a license to pack a gun,” McKee said.
When his deputies make a stop they know to involve a person who holds a concealed-weapons permit, “We consider that person a friend,” Hilkey said.
With fewer than one deputy per 1,000 residents of Garfield County, weapons in the hands are a necessity, Vallario said.
“I have to expect that you are capable of protecting yourselves,” Vallario said.
Questioned about whether the United States is still a constitutional republic, Hilkey cited his dealings with courts and the checks and balances inherent in an independent judiciary.
While he might not agree with the decisions, “It feels to me like there is a constitutional government in place,” Hilkey said.
He is looking into an area of potential federal overreach in the form of a federal agency issuing traffic tickets outside of federal lands, Dunlap said.
Dunlap and McKee said they were watching with interest in the notion that an outside threat to American sovereignty could be taking shape in the form of agreements, such as Agenda 21, with the United Nations.
Some elements of Agenda 21 are “something we should be scared to death of,” as it seems to be intended to drive people out of rural areas and into metropolitan areas, McKee said.
“We have to be aware of it when we’re considering taking grant money. We’re aware of it as an issue.”