Garbage. Any sheriff, or police chief, for that matter, can refuse to enforce a law and they have for years and years.
Sheriffs are elected. They serve the residents of the county that put them in office.
The voters in eight Oregon counties not only elected sheriffs, they approved measures that prohibit the use of county funds, personnel or other asssets to enforce laws those sheriffs deem unconstitutional.
Red flag laws are an excellent example of this.
The right to keep and bear arms is a right protected by the U.S. Constitution. It is not a right granted by the Constitution; it is a right that as far back as the 1875 Supreme Court decision in United States v. Cruikshank has been held to be a fundamental civil right that exists with or without the Constitution. It is also one of the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the taking of life, liberty or property from any person without due process of law. “Liberty” includes a person’s civil rights. Due process requires that a person be given the opportunity to defend themselves, present evidence and witnesses on their behalf, and be represented by counsel.
Due process prohibits the preemptive seizure of a person’s guns.
Red flag laws are straight out unconstitutional and no law enforcement officer has an obligation to enforce such a law.
Just as important is the fact that in the one state that has had this type of law long enough to measure its impact, red flag laws have been a resounding failure.
Connecticut enacted its red flag laws in 1999. According to CDC fatal injury reports from 1999 to 2017, the firearm suicide rate did decrease, falling 7.3%. However, the rate of suffocation suicides soared 113%, becoming the most commonly used method in Connecticut suicides. What makes things even worse is the fact that Connecticut’s total suicide rate rose even more than the national rate.
It’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of red flag laws but, judging by this article, it seems fans of red flag laws don’t care about the 23,319 people who ended their own lives by other methods in 2017; they don’t advance the agenda.
What Ms. Toohill either doesn’t know or doesn’t share with her readers is that the sheriffs who take these stands almost invariably do so with the full support of county officials. As was the case in Oregon, counties in other states are proclaiming themselves to be Second Amendment sanctuaries. Over half the counties in Illinois and Washington state have passed sanctuary county proclamations.
This article reminds me of a recent report that the Brady Campaign was upset that counties in Nevada were saying they wouldn’t enforce the recently rewritten universal background check law. The original law, passed after a majority of voters approved it, was so poorly written, a court ruled it was impossible to implement so state legislators had to try again this year.
Just as with Ms. Toohill’s omission, the Brady Bunch failed to mention that the measure passed in just one of Nevada’s 14 counties. Clark County contains Las Vegas, which had enough voters to squeak the approvel through with a margin of less than 1%. Since 13 counties didn’t approve the measure, it could very well be the case that 13 counties won’t enforce the new law.
Perhaps the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence should stop being critical of those who refuse to accept laws that don’t do anything to prevent gun violence. The Giffords Gang might even consider not promoting such legislation.