Amid what appears to be an insurrection of county sheriffs and county governing boards in several states against restrictive gun laws, Pacific Standard magazine has finally asked the proverbial “$64 question,” what happens next?
The headline is certainly an eye-catcher: “What Happens if Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce State Gun-Control Laws?”
Part of the answer may be found in Washington State, where anti-gun Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson—both supporters of gun control Initiative 1639 that passed last fall, raising the age of purchase for a semi-auto rifle to 21—recently sent letters to county sheriffs and gun dealers, demanding that they obey the law and the “will of the people.”
Apparently Democrats Inslee and Ferguson never read the late Ayn Rand, who once observed, “Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”
In New Mexico, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham may be in an uncomfortable spot because a majority of sheriffs in her state think a new gun law is “feel good” legislation that is unenforceable. But it is more serious than that, as “25 of New Mexico’s 33 counties (have) approved so-called ‘Second Amendment sanctuary ordinances’,” in protest of gun control measures backed by Democrat state lawmakers, the story said.
The article noted that last fall, eight of ten counties that had a Second Amendment preservation ordinance on the November ballot passed their measures.
So, the answer to the magazine’s headline question may be far less important than what doesn’t happen: Law abiding gun owners are not treated like criminals or second-class citizens. And they might be motivated to activism, to make certain that nothing continues to happen, by replacing lawmakers who support gun control legislation with representatives more like them, who are more inclined toward firearms freedom.
The insurrection is even getting the attention of the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The Times used quotes from Ferguson’s letter to the sheriffs and the response from Klickitat County Sheriff Bob Songer:
“Local law enforcement officials are entitled to their opinions about the constitutionality of any law, but those personal views do not absolve us of our duty to enforce Washington laws and protect the public,” Ferguson said in his letter.
To which Songer replied, “There is no way in hell I’m going to be going after their guns if they are honest citizens. What I’ve told people is: I’m not giving up my guns, and I don’t expect them to give up theirs.”
Sheriff Songer added that the attorney general is not his boss. His bosses are the voters of Klickitat County, and they rejected I-1639 last fall, as did voters in a majority of the state’s 39 counties.
The Pacific Standard article referred to a 2017 study that was done by the Giffords Law Center that estimated “as many as 22 percent of American gun owners had obtained their firearms without a background check.”
While anti-gunners think that’s horrible, they overlook the fact that – if one pays attention to the annual FBI Uniform Crime Report – it is clear from the data that all of those Americans who didn’t go through a background check haven’t hurt anybody nor did they commit any crimes.
The biggest error that Pacific Standard, and many newspapers continue to make is by calling anti-gunners “gun safety advocates.” They are gun control advocates, and when sheriffs and county commissions just say “no” to their agenda, they just don’t get it.