Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio told a local radio host the federal government is “going to have problem” if they expect him to confiscate guns from private citizens.
“I took [multiple] oaths of office, and they all say I will defend the Constitution of the United States,” Arpaio told Mike Broomhead of KFYI Radio in Phoenix, Ariz. “Now if they’re going to tell the sheriff that he’s going to go around picking up guns from everybody, they’re going to have a problem. I may not enforce that federal law.”
Broomhead pushed the man sometimes called “America’s toughest sheriff” even further, asking Arpaio if the feds passed a law banning ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, would his deputies confiscate such magazines?
“No,” Arpaio said. “My deputies, I said before, I’m going to arm all my deputies – a month ago I said before this – with automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons. We’re going to be able to fight back. … I don’t care what they say from Washington.”
Arpaio expressed a certain camaraderie with many other sheriffs around the country who have similarly warned they will not enforce what they believe to be infringements on the citizens’ 2nd Amendment right to bear arms.
Some of the strongest language to that effect has come from Utah, where 28 of the state’s 29 elected sheriffs signed a letter to President Obama warning him not to send federal agents to start confiscating guns.
“[M]ake no mistake,” the sheriffs wrote, “as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights – in particular Amendment II – has given them.
“We, like you swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” the sheriffs concluded, “and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
Similarly, in New Mexico last week, 30 of the state’s 33 county sheriffs paid a visit to the state house, reminding the governor and state congressmen that a sheriff’s job is to defend the Constitution, including the 2nd Amendment.
And in Oregon, Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer penned a letter to Vice President Joe Biden warning, “I will not tolerate nor will I permit any federal incursion within the exterior boundaries of Grant County, Ore., where any type of gun-control legislation aimed at disarming law-abiding citizens is the goal or objective.
“We live in a free society,” Palmer continued, “and firearms ownership [is] the right to defend oneself from becoming a victim of a criminal act or from a far-reaching government attempting to enact laws that are unconstitutional.
“I will refuse to participate or stand idly by,” he concluded in the letter to Biden, “while the people are made into criminals due to your unconstitutional actions.”
Similar sentiments have been expressed by sheriffs in Missouri, California, Kansas, Montana and in dozens of counties in several states across the country. A growing list of now more than 90 sheriffs who have reportedly vowed to uphold the Constitution against gun-control measures is being accumulated by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and can be seen here.