By Dr. Harold Pease
Finally, an organization is protecting the Constitution and it is not the House of Representatives, U. S. Senate, U.S. President, the U. S. Supreme Court, or the States, as should be the case. It is the least likely of all those who swear by oath, upon condition of taking office, to preserve it—the Sheriffs’ Departments in county after county and growing. Sheriff Tim Mueller of Linn County, Oregon was the first with his January 14th directive to all sheriffs in his county that they would not be enforcing any law that violated the 2nd Amendment. Two days latter the New Mexico Sheriffs Association, with 30 of their 33 county sheriffs, next stood with “we also will protect the Second Amendment from the federal governments recent assault on it.” Then, the next day, 28 of 29 counties in Utah under the signature of the Utah Sheriffs’ Association informed the President that they will protect the 2nd Amendment for their people even with their lives—even from the federal government. In California 13 county sheriffs have made similar pledges.
The straw that broke the camels back for the county sheriffs was President Barack Obama’s signing some 23 executive orders on January 16, further restricting the rights of gun owners. The Utah backlash followed the next day. Sheriffs are the only elected law enforcement body in the United States and they understand that Congress has sole authority to make law, that law must originate with and be approved by both the House and Senate, and that the only power that belongs to the President is suggestion, through his state of the union address, and his veto, which can be overridden. The Utah sheriffs reminded the President that, “It is imperative this discussion be had in Congress, not silenced unilaterally by executive orders” and advised that he remember, “that the Founders of this great nation created the Constitution, and its accompanying Bill of Rights, in an effort to protect citizens from all forms of tyrannical subjugation.”
Some 535 individuals make all the law on the federal level, not just a single person as was the case with kings and is the case with dictators today. All executive orders that have the effect of making law are unconstitutional; the President has no authority to make law. Doing so reduces the relevancy of the Congress and is a form of tyranny. Moreover, it is well to remember that a law cannot undo an amendment to the Constitution—only another amendment and that requires the support of 3/4ths of the states, so Congress is restricted also.
The Utah Sheriffs letter said in part, “With the number of mass shootings America has endured, it is easy to demonize firearms; it is also foolish and prejudiced. Firearms are nothing more than instruments, valuable and potentially dangerous, but instruments nonetheless. Malevolent souls, like the criminals who commit mass murders, will always exploit valuable instruments in the pursuit of evil. As professional peace officers, if we understand nothing else, we understand this: lawful violence must sometimes be employed to deter and stop criminal violence. Consequently, the citizenry must continue its ability to keep and bear arms, including arms that adequately protect them from all types of illegality.” This inference also includes the government.
The letter ended aimed directly at the President. “We respect the Office of the President of the United States of America. But, make no mistake, 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, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
Finally, we have a body that understands the Constitution, honors its oath, and is prepared to defend it—even against the federal government. Look for other counties all over the United States to follow. Is your sheriff, who took the same oath, willing to defend you? Why not ask him? Send him a copy of this letter. In light of the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by the President December 31, 2011, which authorizes the arrest of U. S. citizens on U.S. soil by the military and their shipment to Guantanamo Bay, where they can be held indefinitely without trial, you might wish to have the support of your county sheriff.
Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his weekly articles, please visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.