Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Colorado Sheriff Within Rights Not To Enforce New Gun Control Laws

Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County, Colorado has been out front in his opposition to the new gun control laws in that state. He led a delegation of sheriffs in testifying against the bills before the Colorado legislature earlier this month. Now he has announced that he doesn't plan to enforce the new laws - and he is within the letter of the law.
"Why put the effort into enforcing a law that is unenforceable?" Cooke told The Denver Post on Monday. "With all of the other crimes that are going on, I don't have the manpower, the resources or the desire to enforce laws like that."

Cooke said this is the first time in his law enforcement career that he has made the decision to not enforce a law.

However, Cooke said, if a person who uses a gun outfitted with a magazine able to hold more than 15 rounds in a crime, that person will be charged under the new law.

Both Dave Kopel, a professor at the University of Denver law school, and Richard Collins, a professor at the University of Colorado law school, agree that it is within a sheriff's prerogative to decide which laws are given priority for enforcement.

From Dave Kopel:
"His primary obligation is to obey the U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution, and he appears to be especially conscientious in making sure he does so," Kopel said.

While it may be one of the first instances related to gun-control measures, sheriffs in the past have refused to uphold laws they did not agree with, such as prohibition, Jim Crow and immigration, Kopel said.
From Richard Collins:
"He couldn't be punished for not upholding these laws, but he could be ordered by the court to uphold them," said Richard Collins, a University of Colorado at Boulder law professor. "Whether anyone would bring a lawsuit to get the court to order him is pretty uncertain."
Given that Sheriff Cooke is one of the 62 elected (out of 64 total) sheriffs in Colorado, Kopel noted that the primary penalty for noncompliance would be either a recall or to be voted out of office so long as he is faithful to both the US and Colorado constitution.

Of course this just galls the gun prohibitionists in the Colorado legislature.
State Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, Senate sponsor of the universal-background-checks bill, said a sheriff unwilling or unable to fulfill the duties of the position should step down.

"They are putting politics above their job," she said.
That last statement is particularly rich coming from the likes of Sen. Carroll who has her eyes set on the governor's office.


  1. Politics IS driving this whole train wreck...

  2. Why are sheriffs not arresting oath violating politicians it is a federal crime after all, see

    Federal law regulating oath of office by government officials is divided into four parts along with an executive order which further defines the law for purposes of enforcement. 5 U.S.C. 3331, provides the text of the actual oath of office members of Congress are required to take before assuming office. 5 U.S.C. 3333 requires members of Congress sign an affidavit that they have taken the oath of office required by 5 U.S.C. 3331 and have not or will not violate that oath of office during their tenure of office as defined by the third part of the law, 5 U.S.C. 7311 which explicitly makes it a federal criminal offense (and a violation of oath of office) for anyone employed in the United States Government (including members of Congress) to “advocate the overthrow of our constitutional form of government”. The fourth federal law, 18 U.S.C. 1918 provides penalties for violation of oath office described in 5 U.S.C. 7311 which include: (1) removal from office and; (2) confinement or a fine

    The definition of “advocate” is further specified in Executive Order 10450 which for the purposes of enforcement supplements 5 U.S.C. 7311. One provision of Executive Order 10450 specifies it is a violation of 5 U.S.C. 7311 for any person taking the oath of office to advocate “the alteration ... of the form of the government of the United States by unconstitutional means.” Our form of government is defined by the Constitution of the United States. It can only be “altered” by constitutional amendment. Thus, according to Executive Order 10450 (and therefore 5 U.S. 7311) any act taken by government officials who have taken the oath of office prescribed by 5 U.S.C. 3331which alters the form of government other by amendment, is a criminal violation of the 5 U.S.C. 7311.

  3. "Why put the effort into enforcing a law that is unenforceable?" indeed this is true law makers should review some of the laws that has many holes. There are many people committing violation and yet they where set free because of some lapses of the law that cannot convict them. police test.

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