You Can’t Pick And Choose

Apparently, some county sheriffs in a few states have come out and said that they will not enforce any gun control laws that are passed.  They cite the 2nd Amendment, saying gun control laws infringe on the right of citizens to bear arms.  They are wrong, and if any new gun control laws are passed and they do enforce them, they will be breaking the law themselves.  The truth of the matter is that, regardless of whether or not they agree with any federal law, they have sworn to uphold the laws of the land, and in not doing so, would be breaking the law.  They cannot pick and choose which laws they will enforce.

It always baffles me how people, like these sheriffs, will yell and scream about the 2nd Amendment without knowing the rest of the Constitution.  There is more, by the way.  Take, for example, Jackson County, Kentucky Sheriff Denny Peyman when he says this about Kentucky:

“Kentucky is a sovereign state.”

Uh, no, it is not.  Unless the state flag and website are wrong, Kentucky is officially a commonwealth.  While there is technically no difference in the distinction of being a state versus a commonwealth, the sheriff would have more credibility in his statement if he referred to Kentucky by its official designation.  Maybe that is splitting hairs, maybe not.  What Kentucky is not is sovereign.  To be sovereign, Kentucky would have to have “supreme power over a body politic and freedom from external control” (source).  By even referencing something from the United States Constitution, the sheriff is acknowledging that Kentucky did not grant the right to bear arms with the autonomy necessary to qualify as a sovereign entity.  Did the people of Kentucky exercise their right to vote in November?  If so, they did so on an election day that is federally mandated.  So much for sovereignty on that one, too.

Whether or not these sheriffs agree with any gun legislation that is passed, they are bound by the laws of this country to enforce the laws.  They cannot pick and choose; that is not how law enforcement works.

Yes, the argument can and will be made that any new gun legislation only targets law-abiding citizens, and I guess that is technically correct.  All laws are designed to protect those who follow them willingly.  Criminals are criminals because they choose to not follow established laws, plain and simple; using that same line of reasoning, not following any new gun laws will thus make these sheriffs criminals.  Interesting.  Laws are designed and enacted for safety, much like the locks on the windows and doors of your house and mine.  Those locks only act as a deterrent for someone who is not likely to break the law in the first place.  If someone wants to break into a house right now, no lock on the door or window will stop them.  Much like laws, criminals have no regard for locks on doors and windows.

Common sense has to win the day with this debate.  Neither side is doing its supporters favors by using scare tactics.  Much like not every gun owner is out to kill people, not every gun law enacted to protect citizens is infringing on anybody’s right to bear arms.  I would love for people to use common sense, but fear is the tactic most often employed.

Much like you and I cannot pick and choose which red lights we will stop for on our commute today, these sheriffs cannot pick and choose which laws they will enforce.



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