AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File
Right now, most of the sheriffs pledging not to enforce anti-gun laws are opting to use their discretion as to which laws get enforced. This isn’t all that different from the police officer who pulls you over but just tells you to slow it down rather than writing you a ticket. You were speeding, but they opted not to penalize you.
As it stands, there’s little anyone can do to change what these sheriffs will and won’t enforce. Should that change, though, we’re likely to see some of these sheriffs change their position. After all, they may be willing to make a stand, but to go to jail over it?
For one Colorado sheriff, though, that decision isn’t all that difficult.
A Sheriff in Colorado told CNN he would rather go to jail than to enforce the state’s proposed Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), commonly referred to as “red flag laws.” If House Bill 19-1177 passes, the law would allow a family member, roommate or law enforcement officer to petition a judge so police can temporarily seize a person’s firearms if they’re deemed a threat to themselves or others.
“Are you willing to sit in your own jail to avoid enforcing this law?” a CNN reporter asked Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, the Greeley Tribune reported.
His response was perfect.
“Well obviously no sheriff wants to be confined in their own jail, but if that’s what it takes to get this bill ironed out, then I guess that’s a sacrifice I’ll be forced to make,” Reams replied. “The worst way to bring attention to it is for me to be put in that position, but I’ll do that before I’ll violate somebody’s constitutional rights.”
His response was perfect.
Look, red flag laws sound great in a soundbite. You take guns from dangerous people. Sure, that’s something most people can get behind.
The problem is that there’s no due process involved. The individual generally doesn’t even know what’s happening until the police show up to take their guns. Then, now deprived of their Second Amendment rights, they have to go about proving that they aren’t dangerous. That’s if they can afford the attorney to help them get those rights back.
Further, there’s little to no effort put into dissuading people from using these laws maliciously. They’ll invariably be used to punish people, a legalized form of swatting with the nice little bonus of depriving a gun owner of their firearms.
It’s no wonder that anti-gunners want to see these laws in place, either.
After all, once you deprive some people of their Second Amendment rights and property without due process of law, it becomes so much easier to do it to other people. We all know this is the endgame anyway, and while I’m not saying this is an intentional effort to reach total disarmament, I do think anti-gunners will use this to justify still more restrictions and further disarmament efforts down the road.