The right way to fight gun laws

The news that several county sheriffs in Colorado, including at least two on the Western Slope, say they will refuse to enforce new gun laws just adopted by the state Legislature and signed by the governor, should be disturbing for all Coloradans.

The reason people of this state should be concerned about the sheriffs’ actions is not that the laws in question are wonderful and will quickly put a halt to gun violence. They won’t, as we and many others have said previously.

Rather, the problem is that the sheriffs are undermining the rule of law, and there is another, more appropriate way for them to challenge the laws — in the courts.

Sheriffs are not lawmakers. They don’t get to establish or abolish laws. That is the function of the legislative branch of government. Sheriffs and other elected officials don’t get to determine the constitutionality of laws. That is the responsibility of the judicial branch.

We are familiar with the line of thinking that claims county sheriffs can simply ignore rules they believe are not constitutional. We don’t buy it.

Law enforcement and elected officials in the South cannot refuse to enforce laws that protect equal rights for everyone, as they once did until people like President Dwight Eisenhower sent in federal troops to enforce the laws.

Neither can cities or counties legally create so-called “sanctuary” zones where federal immigration laws won’t be enforced, although several have tried.

Furthermore, if sheriffs have the authority to nullify legislative actions, then they essentially have legislative power. They could just as easily claim the power to create whatever laws they desire within their jurisdictions.

They don’t have that power, of course, and no rational person would want to grant it to them.

But sheriffs do have the right, as do all Americans, to challenge a law’s validity in courts. County sheriffs could seek an injunction to prevent enforcement of the recently passed gun laws, arguing that the laws put sheriffs in the untenable position of enforcing a law that they believe violates their oath of office. Or a sheriff could work with a citizen with similar views about the gun laws to arrange an arrest, and thereby initiate a court case challenging the laws’ constitutionality.

The point is, there is a legally appropriate means for county sheriffs and citizens to challenge the validity of these laws, one that follows the judicial process of this country.

Simply refusing to enforce a law undermines that judicial process and is a failure to fulfill a sheriff’s duties.


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You are forgetting the concept of “Civil Disobediance”. Many of the laws on the books today are unconstitutional, they just never make it to be judged in the Supreme Court and lawmakers know this, and know they can get away with it. It’s just another symptom of the downfall of society.

Until the Second Amendment to the constitution itself is actually amended, many gun laws passed will be unconstitutional. The end run around the constitution is usually described as “the new laws can stand side by side with the old laws”. No, they cannot. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. The master law itself must be changed. This is why we have so many redundant laws on the books, gun related and otherwise.

I think we should all be more concerned why Janet Napolitano and the department of Homeland Security has issued a purchase order to buy 1.62 BILLION rounds of ammunition. Not the military, the DHS! What do they need with 1.62 BILLION bullets?

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