January 30, 2013

Sheriff Raney Will Take Your Gun Away-But He Won’t Like It

Posted by Adam Graham in : Idaho Conservative, The

Across the West, Sheriffs have been pledging not to seize firearms. Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney sounds an entirely different tone in a Reader’s View in the Idaho Statesman. He writes:

I did not swear to uphold just part of the Constitution. Our Constitution includes the right to keep and bear arms, but it also includes the “supremacy clause” that says that every state shall abide by the laws passed by our Congress.

So, despite the fact that I personally oppose some of the gun control measures currently under consideration, my oath requires me to uphold the laws that are passed by our federal and state representatives…

I fear that passions have led people into a rally of mistruth. It is time we truly respect the Constitution and our system of justice. Regardless of your personal opinion on the Second Amendment, embrace everyone’s liberty and use our well-established process to pass laws and contest them.

In essence what Raney argues is that if the Congress passes, he will enforce it and that he’s required by the Constitution to do so.
Now, first he’s just plain wrong as to the Constitutional Law. When the Brady Bill was passed in the 1990s, it required local sheriffs to enforce it. The Supreme Court overturned in Printz v. United States. The Federal government cannot force a Sheriff to enforce a federal gun law. That is a precedent of the U.S. Supreme Court.
I understand the sentiment expressed by Sheriff Raney and to an extent he has a point. We really don’t need police officers enforcing only the laws they like or support. Because what we end up with is anarchy as we see in so-called “sanctuary cities.”  We need law enforcement to be relied upon to follow the law.
But it also has to be recognized that there are limits for this. Chief among them is the federal Constitution. Article  Six of the Constitution which the Sheriff alludes to states, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” If a law is clearly unconstitutional and wasn’t made pursuant to the Constitution, the Constitution still reigns supreme. Sheriff Raney’s policy of “If the Federal Government says jump, I’ll ask, ‘How high?'” raises an interesting question. Is there any limit to the type of law he’d enforce. What if Congress passed a law ordering all churches in the nation shuttered and told the sheriff’s department to enforce it, would he? If not, why not? Since he’s determined that whatever the Congress says he’ll do regardless of it contradicts the Constitution.
And by the way, advising that we can embrace the liberty of others to destroy our Constitutional Rights sounds like a noble concept until you consider how silly it is.
There is also laws that are unjust and violate God’s laws. Russians officials persecuted Jews at the orders of the Czars. And who can forget the Nuremberg cry of, “We were just following orders!” Thankfully, law enforcement in the United States does not face any possibility so monstrous at the moment.  Though how Raney’s belief that whatever Congress says must be enforced no matter how unconstitutional or repugnant remains an open question.
As it is, the difference between Raney and the vigorous gun-grabbing police chiefs who dream of disarming Americans within a generation is that these police chiefs are eagerly waiting to take away our Second Amendment rights, Sheriff Raney will do so with reluctance.  Americans are equally disarmed either way.

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