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Local Sheriffs are Under Oath to Support the Constitution Before Federal Gun Control Laws

The announcement was made on Tuesday that Senator Dianne Feinstein won’t get to take away your assault weapons (at least for now) due to a decision by Harry Reid not to include her ban in a package of gun control measures he will introduce for a vote on the Senate floor.  Now, it’s pretty clear that the Democrats were worried – rightly so – that their intrusive gun-grabbing shenanigans would cost some Senate Democrats from red states their reelections in 2014.

Joe Arpaio
Sheriff Joe Arpaio made it clear he is under oath to support the U.S. Constitution, which includes the Second Amendment before enforcing federal gun control laws.

But it wasn’t just political maneuverings that temporarily foiled the assault weapons ban.  Amidst all the lunacy on Capitol Hill, local sheriffs were taking matters into their own hands to protect and defend their people against this dangerous abuse of power by the federal government.  As of this writing, 15 sheriffs associations and 380 local sheriffs have vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution and their people.  A list of all the sheriffs who are standing up against new gun regulations can be found here, but below is a snapshot of the local sheep ready to take on the wolves from Washington:

In New Mexico, 30 of the state’s 33 county sheriffs have reminded state lawmakers that they are under oath to support the U.S. Constitution, and that includes the Second Amendment. previously reported that 28 of the 29 sheriffs in Utah sent a letter to President Obama stating that they will not enforce any new gun laws they believe to be unconstitutional.

A host of Oregon sheriffs have said that they will not comply with any new unconstitutional gun regulations, with Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer writing in a letter to Vice President Joe Biden: “I will not tolerate nor will I permit any federal incursion within the exterior boundaries of Grant County, Oregon, where any type of gun control legislation aimed at disarming law -abiding citizens is the goal or objective.”

A letter sent to Sen. Dianne Feinstein from Sheriff Jon Lopey of Siskiyou County, California states: “Our founding fathers got it right and many politicians are getting it wrong.” (That’s one of my personal favorites!)

In Florida, Martin County Sheriff Bill Snyder said that he will not enforce federal gun laws: “Local law enforcement authorities are not empowered to enforce Federal law,” Snyder said.

The larger point of this article is that these sheriffs are actually spot-on in their assessment that local law enforcement authorities aren’t obligated in any way to enforce laws enacted by the feds.  In Article VI, paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution it clearly states:

“…all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution…”

In his book, The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope, written for all sheriffs and all peace-keeping officers (police), Sheriff Richard Mack states:

“Whether you like it or not, you have given your word through a solemn oath to uphold, defend, support, and obey the United States Constitution.  And, just in case you are wondering, sheriffs are part of the Executive branch of government.  Along with the President, we are the executors of the law; and what is the supreme law of the land?  The United States Constitution!”

Therefore, what is our supreme duty and responsibility? That’s right! To protect and defend, the U.S. Constitution! There is nothing we could do, that could come even close to justifying any peace officer in this country failing to keep his oath of office. Keeping that oath is what makers our constitutional Republic unique and effective.”

And according to the book They Fired the First Shot (pg. 419):

“When the federal government sends out its wolves to take away our liberty and our unalienable rights, the sheriffs have more authority. They have more authority than the President of the United States in their own county.  The county sheriff has total power to stand against the unconstitutional rulings, executive orders and unlawful rulings from the courts, the president, and congress, even from state and local governments that violate constitutional rights.”

Sheriff Mack argues the chains binding “we the people” to federal whims, executive orders, regulations, confiscations, seizures of bank accounts, EPA regulations, and many other imposed laws are only an illusion – illusions of federal, state, and local chains we think we are bound by, which all Americans have been conditioned to believe to the point of blindness.  Mack’s 1996 fight against President Bill Clinton’s Brady Bill, which he claimed forced sheriffs to become pawns of the federal government and do their bidding to illegally promote gun control and contained a provision to arrest them if they failed to comply, was what finally convinced him of the enormous power and duty local sheriffs possess when dealing with the federal government.  Regarding this experience, he writes:

“We ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court together on December 4, 1996.  On June 27, 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the Brady Bill was in fact unconstitutional and that the Federal Government could not commandeer state or county officers for federal bidding.  This was more than monumental!  The ruling stated at least three times that the states were ‘not subject to Federal direction.’  More importantly, the case proved that ‘local’ officials have the right, the power, and the duty to stand against the far reaching incursions by our own Federal Government.  In the ruling Justice Scalia wrote for the majority, stating, “The Federal Government may not compel the states to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program.”  This means none…zero!  They can’t compel the states or the counties or local officials to comply with their regulations.” 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County in Arizona is one of the few county sheriffs who, after learning of and understanding his immense authority, has used his power as the chief law officer of his county, standing down federal government officials.  In his county, he became famous for his stances on criminal justice against federal laws and mandates.  Sheriff Arpaio writes of Sheriff Richard Mack:

“In 1994 Sheriff Mack took a courageous stand to defend the U.S. Constitution and the autonomy of Sheriffs against the Clinton administration.  His lawsuit and subsequent victory at the Supreme Court proved once and for all that the Sheriff is indeed the ultimate law enforcement authority in his county and in this country.  He is not a bureaucrat and he does not answer to one.  He answers to his boss, the citizens.  The sheriff is the employer of the people and exists to serve and protect them in all matters.”

“This booklet (The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope) should be read by every citizen, police officer, and especially each sheriff of these United States, that we may become united in our service to the American people and dedicated to the preservation of those precious freedoms that so many have fought and died for.  To uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution is our primary duty and our sworn responsibility.”

There are over 3,000 counties in the United States, with most counties having a local sheriff.  We have checks and balances not just in our three branches of government in Washington, as we have always been taught, but in our own backyard.  Our local sheriffs are the last line of defense between the people and the criminals, both from the streets and from the federal government…and I bet most of them (and maybe most of you) don’t even know it.

Elizabeth Hermesch is a political blogger and a contributor to

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