March 27, 2013

Colorado sheriffs decry new gun-control laws as unenforceable

The resistance reflects the views of hundreds of rural law enforcement officers across the United States.

Bloomberg News

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John Hickenlooper
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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called on county sheriffs to carry out new gun-control measures.

The Associated Press

PASSIONATE DEFIANCE

The majority of the nation's 3,080 sheriffs don't hold such views, Everitt said. He pointed to a Feb. 1 resolution by the Alexandria, Va.-based National Sheriffs Association, saying the group "supports the rights conferred by the 2nd Amendment and further recognizes the ultimate authority of the courts in interpreting the scope of those constitutional rights."

Some sheriffs in states such as Colorado, where efforts are under way to tighten gun laws, are passionate in their promises to defy them.

"I would never enforce such legislation in my county and put my deputies in harm's way," said Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, president of the Maryland Sheriffs' Association. "I cannot imagine sending them to homes of law-abiding citizens to remove their weapons."

Legislation that would enable some of the nation's strictest laws, including a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, and imposing new licensing rules for handguns, including training and fingerprinting requirements for permit applicants, is pending in Maryland's House of Delegates.

 

 

In most cases, sheriffs won't be called upon to carry out new gun laws in their jurisdictions, said Gary Kleck, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University.

"If they catch someone in public with a gun, but without a permit, that's the kind of arrest they can make," he said. "Otherwise, police have virtually no role in enforcing any kind of gun-control law."

 

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