Shame on the sheriffs
All the gun control related state legislation from the recent 2013 legislative session has brought out the polarization of people’s thinking.
There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground in any of the various legislative bills which were passed by the Democrats who control both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
This past week 54 of the Colorado sheriffs came together in filing a federal lawsuit attacking two of the bills which have been approved. They are the 15 round limitation on magazines and the requirement of background checks for all firearms transfers and sales.
What is particularly offensive with the filing of this lawsuit seeking a judicial declaration that both pieces of legislation are unconstitutional is a group of elected law enforcement officials taking such an initiative. I thought we elected county sheriffs to enforce the laws of the State of Colorado, not to attack or refuse to enforce them. It seems they have taken it upon themselves to re-define their role.
What is especially telling in this action are the “partners” which the county sheriffs chose to “cowboy up” with. Groups like the Independence Institute, an ultra-conservative Colorado think tank officed in Golden, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Colorado Farm Bureau and the Erie-based ammunition magazine manufacturer, which has vowed to leave Colorado, to name a few.
It makes me wonder who is the true “ring leader” in this legal action.
Regardless, I find it to be inappropriate for elected law enforcement personnel to take the lead in fighting legislation that they don’t like and say they will not enforce.
Where does it say the sheriffs get to pick and choose which laws they will or will not enforce?
The sheriffs state that people’s 14th and 2nd Constitutional Amendments are being violated by the two pieces of legislation. Well, fine and dandy, but why not let the Independence Institute or the National Rifle Association take on the legal challenge. I don’t recall other times when Colorado sheriffs felt so outraged to take legal action to speak on behalf of their constituents one way or the other.
Let’s find out once and for all whether these gun control laws are constitutional and get on with our lives. I wonder who is paying for this U.S. District Court lawsuit. I bet the Independence Institute is either paying most or all of it. And the sheriffs got duped into being their shill.
The one statement that the sheriffs’ group made at their press conference with which I would concur is that the Democrats did not seek their input on the various gun control bills.
Regardless of where legislators thought the sheriffs would stand, they should have been consulted. Legislators have asked for their input in the past on similar related legislative proposals.
This shortcoming is indicative of the down side when one political party (either Democrats or Republicans) has control of both legislative houses. We have seen the “over the top” work of such control in the past at both the state and federal levels and it is not in the best interest of all concerned.
Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.