By Garth Kant
A Colorado sheriff has joined the list of at least 340 sheriffs who have vowed to uphold the Constitution against gun-control measures that violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he and many other county sheriffs “won’t bother enforcing” laws poised to go into effect in Colorado because it would be impossible to keep track of whether gun owners are meeting the new requirements.
He says the laws are “feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable” and would “give a false sense of security.”
Cooke said he and other sheriffs are considering filing a lawsuit to block the laws.
As WND reported, similar sentiments have been expressed by Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and sheriffs in Missouri, California, Kansas, Montana and in dozens of counties in several states across the country. A growing list of now more than 340 sheriffs who have reportedly vowed to uphold the Constitution against efforts to undermine Americans’ gun rights is being accumulated by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association.
The Colorado Legislature passed a bill expanding requirements for background checks and another putting a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign both bills into law.
Sheriff Cooke said requiring a $10 background check to legally transfer a gun won’t stop gun violence.
“Criminals are still going to get their guns,” he said.
Cooke pointed out the other law would technically ban all magazines due to a provision outlawing magazines that can be altered. He noted that any magazine can be altered to hold more ammunition.
As WND reported just four days ago, Cooke said he is getting political pressure to support the laws.
He received an email chain pointing out that Senate Majority Leader John Morse, a Democrat, said if a salary bill were introduced, it would not be until late in the session, after the gun-control bills had been voted on.
Cooke said while he’s not willing to conclude the emails meet the legal definition of extortion, it was apparent that was the intention.
“When you look at the email, I don’t see how you could look at it any other way,” Cooke said. “It definitely implied the reason a pay raise bill was being held up was to punish us for our stance against these gun bills. Then they had another email suggesting if we were to support this bill, it would look better for us and maybe we can get a bill introduced for a raise.
“To me, that didn’t sit well at all. I’m not willing to say its extortion yet, but it just looked bad. We were not willing to compromise on our principles. We felt the bill was bad, and we were not going to support it.”
The sheriff’s pushback against the gun measures is significant because Democratic lawmakers are crafting similar bills in other states.
“Colorado is a pawn for the Obama-Biden plan,” he added.
And, in fact, Vice-President Joe Biden called undecided Democrats and pushed for passage of the bills.
“He’s watching us, and if we had a chance to move these bills forward, what an important signal it would send to the rest of the country if a Western conservative state passes such legislation,” said Democratic state Rep. Tony Exum Sr. of Colorado Springs.
The bills are in response to the shootings last year at Aurora, Colo., and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
While some see these measures as models for other states, laws that preserve gun rights are gaining momentum.
The first of these was the Firearms Freedom Act passed in Montana, which says any firearms made and retained in-state are beyond the authority of Congress under its constitutional power to regulate commerce among the states.
Two senators in Ohio have introduced a bill which would prohibit firearms seizures, registration and bans in their state.
A bill in Kentucky would prohibit the state from enforcing new federal gun-control laws, if enacted.
Idaho’s House passed a bill that would criminalize enforcing any new federal laws than ban, restrict, confiscate or require registration of firearms or ammunition in violation of the state’s constitution.
A bill in Louisiana would prohibit the enforcement of federal restrictions regarding the ownership or possession of semi-automatic firearms.
A bill that would prohibit the enforcement of federal gun laws passed in the House Public Safety Committee in Oklahoma.
The Texas House is considering a measure to prevent state and local police from enforcing new federal gun-control measures.
The House in Kansas approved a bill prohibiting the federal government from enforcing gun laws or bans on firearms and accessories manufactured, sold or kept in the state.
A bill in Arizona would make it a felony for the federal government to enforce new laws or regulations on guns, accessories and ammunition owned or manufactured in the state.
And a bill in Michigan would exempt firearms and firearms accessories made and sold exclusively in Michigan from federal gun restrictions.
As WND recently reported, Sheriff Joe Arpaio recently said he would refuse to enforce federal government orders if it expected 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.
Similarly, in New Mexico in January, 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 Second Amendment.