There’s a new Civil War a-brewing in Wicomico County, Maryland, across the Chesapeake Bay from Washington DC. And, as you might expect, the NRA is all for it.
County Sheriff Mike Lewis is a member of an extremist organization (ironically) called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which holds to the repeatedly discredited belief that Posse Comitatus gives the local sheriff ultimate authority in any town…nevermind that that hasn’t been true since the Reconstruction Era following the (first) Civil War.
If this philosophy sounds familiar, it’s because you might have heard the same words spoken by the group’s leader, Richard Mack of Nevada. He’s the guy who stood beside Cliven Bundy, while they worked out a strategy to put the women up front in case of gunfire. In 2013, Mack and his CSPOA recognized Lewis as Sheriff of the Year. On the stage, Lewis stood beside Michael Peroutka, a ranking officer in a Neo-Confederate white supremacist group called The League of the South.
The notion that got the Sheriff all up in arms was that the Feds might come in and take his citizens arms. More specifically, that the Federal government will pass a uniform ban on high-capacity magazines…which nobody at the Federal level is even talking about. But, this hypothetical gun ban was enough to drive Lewis into a froth; he made national headlines last month when he told a local news station:
“As long as I’m the sheriff in this county, I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it.”
The National coalition to Stop Gun Violence created a petition demanding the revocation of his Maryland Police Training Commission certificate. This certificate issued by the state (which sort of undermines Lewis’ “local sheriffs are the ultimate authority” argument) is a cop’s driver’s license to enforce law. If the state pulls it, he’s no longer a cop.
A cop who refers to the government as “the common enemy of the people.”
Of course, the NRA had to get involved, knowing its (ahem) target audience as it does. After CSGV’s petition launched, they called it “pathetic,” and accused them of trying to “silence” Lewis. NRA News host and talking chili-dog Cam Edwards said of Lewis’ threat that…it wasn’t a threat.
“If you heard the actual quote you know that the sheriff wasn’t threatening violence. The only way that the sheriff would have been threatening violence is if [CSGV director of communications] Ladd Everitt believes that the federal government is in fact planning to come into the county to strip citizens of their right to bear arms. I’m not quite sure that Ladd Everitt is willing to go that far on the record, but that was the response again by Sheriff Lewis is if the federal government were to try to do that what they would find is that I would not let them.”
So, here’s Cam’s logic: Man beats his wife, and says “I’ll kill you if you try to leave!” That’s not a threat until she tries to leave.
But, then again, this is also the same group of people who think that Posse Comitatus still equates to legal authority over elected government, that people licensed by the state don’t work for the state, and that the Sovereign Citizens‘ movement is valid because of Admiralty Law. Or something.
But hey, could be Lewis will win over the Fed and their hypothetical hi-cap magazine ban without firing a shot. If Cliven Bundy is any example, he just has to time his “rebellion” to land on an election year, and watch as the politicians do absolutely nothing.