How many times have you been pulled over, stopped by police or even facing a possible arrest, where the officer says something to the effect of “I don’t decide which laws to enforce, I’m just doing my job.”
Well, for a handful of sheriffs in Colorado as well as throughout the rest of the country, apparently their job requirements end where their support for gun rights begin. Sheriff John Cooke of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office recently gave a speech to a pro-gun rally, where he decried recent gun control legislation as unconstitutional, stating that he and his office would refuse or avoid enforcing the laws they believe to be a violation of the 2nd amendment.
Reacting to a variety of gun control regulations throughout the country which address everything from weapon make and model to magazine size and ammo capacity, Sheriffs such as Cooke are drawing lines in the sand, claiming that the additional regulations are not only unconstitutional in their view, but additionally burdensome for deputies and law enforcement officials, who they claim are already overrun with duties and protocols.
At the rally, Cooke held up two identical magazines, both of the recently banned 30 round variety and then, shuffling them around in his hands, asked how his deputies were expected to tell the difference between the legal pre-ban magazine and the illegal post-ban one.
“How is a deputy or officer supposed to know which one is which?” he asked the largely pro-gun crowd at the Greeley Colorado crowd.
While Cooke may not be alone in this fight, he is also not without opposition from other areas of the law enforcement community. A number of police chiefs and officer’s associations of primarily urban precincts and jurisdictions, have come out in opposition to the (often elected) Sheriffs’ groups, stating that not only are the new laws able to be enforced, but that they and their officers are noticing positive effects already.
It’s not that surprising either, considering earlier in the year when President Obama and a number of Congressional Democrats began pushing for tougher gun laws, a substantial amount of the organized support they received came from police organizations and city police chiefs.
As Cooke and other, largely elected sheriffs denounce the new state laws and join lawsuits seeking to overturn them, the debate over gun control, especially in Colorado which has recently experienced yet another school shooting and especially now in light of the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, is expected to continue heating up between public safety advocates and those who insist on maintaining the status quo.