Like all advocates of freedom, I normally despair about the future. Whether we’re measuring the ever-growing burden of government or the erosion of key forms of social capital such as self-reliance and the work ethic, it seems that the world is heading in the wrong direction.
But, at least for today, I want to be optimistic. At least on the issue of guns.
My good cheer may simply be a function of the holiday season. Or maybe my optimism is merely an illogical side-effect of having just enjoyed a couple of days of warm sunshine.
But I don’t think so. I actually think we’re winning the battle to preserve the Second Amendment.
And Colorado is Ground Zero in this battle. In an unprecedented move, two state senators – including the Senate President – were kicked out of office earlier this year because voters were upset that they voted to undermine the right to keep and bear arms.
Then, more recently, another state senator in Colorado resigned her seat rather than face a similar recall election.
Those political results were impressive, but it’s even more surprising that we’re now we’re seeing some very admirable forms of civil disobedience. But what’s amazing isn’t that citizens are refusing to obey tyrannical and unjust law.
That’s inspiring, of course, but we’ve now reached the point where even law enforcement is refusing to comply.
Here are some encouraging excerpts from a report in the New York Times about how Colorado sheriffs are openly stating that they have no intention of carrying out the misguided dictates of the political class.
When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines. One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he “maybe” obtained afterward. He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference. “How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?” he asks.
It’s not just Sheriff Cooke.
…if Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions. Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.
Even the Sheriffs on the wrong side of the lawsuit aren’t necessarily on the wrong side of the issue.
Even Sheriff W. Pete Palmer of Chaffee County, one of the seven sheriffs who declined to join the federal lawsuit because he felt duty-bound to carry out the laws, said he was unlikely to aggressively enforce them. He said enforcement poses “huge practical difficulties,” and besides, he has neither the resources nor the pressure from his constituents to make active enforcement a high priority. Violations of the laws are misdemeanors. “All law enforcement agencies consider the community standards — what is it that our community wishes us to focus on — and I can tell you our community is not worried one whit about background checks or high-capacity magazines,” he said.
We’re seeing healthy resistance in other states as well.
The resistance of sheriffs in Colorado is playing out in other states. …In New York State, where Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed one of the toughest gun law packages in the nation last January, two sheriffs have said publicly they would not enforce the laws — inaction that Mr. Cuomo said would set “a dangerous and frightening precedent.” …In Liberty County, Fla., a jury in October acquitted a sheriff who had been suspended and charged with misconduct after he released a man arrested by a deputy on charges of carrying a concealed firearm. The sheriff, who was immediately reinstated by the governor, said he was protecting the man’s Second Amendment rights. …“Our way of life means nothing to these politicians, and our interests are not being promoted in the legislative halls of Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” said Jon E. Lopey, the sheriff of Siskiyou County, Calif.
By the way, Governor Cuomo is half-right about “a dangerous and frightening precedent.” He’s just oblivious to the fact that this phrase applies to his policies, not to the Sheriffs who are obeying the Constitution and common sense.
For more information on the Second Amendment and the folly of gun control, here are some great videos.
- Ted Nugent talking about gun ownership and the right of self defense.
- A look at Switzerland’s strong gun culture and the importance of self defense as a protection against oppression.
- And some very powerful testimony to some weasels on Capitol Hill (make sure to pay attention around the 5:00 mark).
- Ice-T talking about the real reason to defend and support the 2nd Amendment.
- A Reason TV video with five facts for Vice President Biden’s task force.
- A look at how a young woman can defend herself.
- Debunking the left’s “black NRA” parody.
- A 15-year old speaking truth to power.
P.S. Andrew Cuomo was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton years when the so-called affordable lending requirements were dramatically expanded, thus helping to pave the way for the housing and financial crisis.
P.P.S. Another way of protecting the Second Amendment is for juries to engage in nullification and to refuse to convict people for peaceably owning and bearing arms.