I represent 55 elected Colorado Sheriffs, plus one retired police officer, in a federal civil rights lawsuit that has been filed against two bills passed by the state legislature last March. Information about the case, including major case filings, is available at ColoradoGunCase.org. I am writing this post to correct a serious and inaccurate accusation that has been made about my clients in the press recently.
On Monday, the New York Times published an article titled “Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Laws on Gun Control.” Today, National Review Online published an article by Charles W. Cooke titled “Sheriffs Have No Veto: Refusing to enforce constitutionally dubious legislation is no better when they do it.” The article equated the Colorado Sheriffs to President Obama for lawlessly refusing to enforce certain statutes. As a matter of law, this accusation is wrong.
As for President Obama: The U.S. Constitution mandates that the President “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….” Art. II, sect. 3. Critics of the President accuse him of violating this specific, controlling law in various ways, such as unilaterally delaying the business mandate in Obamacare. Let us assume for the sake of argument that at least some of these charges are accurate. If so, the President would be flouting a specific duty imposed by law.
As for the Colorado Sheriffs: Each of the Sheriffs has his or own policy for dealing with new anti-gun bills of HB 1224 (magazine ban) and HB 1229 (temporary private loans of firearms must be treated like firearms sales, and routed through a gun store, with attendant record-keeping, fees, etc.). It would not be correct to claim that the majority of the Sheriffs have said that they will categorically refuse to enforce the laws. But let’s consider one of [...]