Perjury is the act of lying under oath. It’s considered a crime, though it’s rarely enforced as such. It’s very difficult to know for a fact whether someone intentionally lied or there was some kind of mistake. Yes, we generally know they lied, but proving it in court can be a very different matter.
In Vermont, though, a gun rights advocate is seeking to press charges against lawmakers he says perjured themselves.
Second Amendment rights activist Jim Sexton of Essex Junction March 10 presented a written petition to Washington County Sheriff Sam Hill to remove from the State House and charge 16 Vermont senators who – Sexton said– “have committed perjury by violating their oaths of office” by supporting gun control legislation.
Addison County Sen. Chris Bray (D) is one of the 16 legislators Sexton believes should be charged with perjury.
Sporting a t-shirt saying “Ban Idiots, Not Guns,” Sexton met Hill outside the sheriff’s office in Montpelier, with 2020 legislative candidates Brock Coderre of Waterbury and Charles Wilson as witnesses. Vermont Daily was the only press in attendance.
Hill said charging and removing lawmakers is not his decision, but he did say he would forward the petition to Attorney General TJ Donovan. Sexton respectfully disagreed, saying his research shows that the county sheriff is responsible for law enforcement in Washington County. He made a similar request last year to the Vermont Capitol Police and the State House Sergeant-at-Arms and was told it wasn’t their responsibility, either.
Now, I’m of two minds about this.
See, I agree that lawmakers who support gun control have violated their oaths to “support and defend the Constitution.” This isn’t, for me, something that’s up for discussion.
On one hand, I see this as hilarious. I absolutely love it.
On the other, though, I could see something like this setting a dangerous precedent. After all, some people believe that the phrase “promote the general welfare” means all kinds of things like social safety nets, welfare in general, single-payer healthcare, and so on. Do we want to see lawmakers arrested for perjury because they opposed these measures?
“But Tom, this is different.”
Sure. I get it and I agree, but will the other side see it that way? No, they won’t. To them, this will be no different. They’ll argue that the Second Amendment has limits–likely quoting Scalia in the Heller decision–and so they’re within their bounds to enact those limits.
Again, I don’t agree with them, but this is how I see this going down.
Instead of actually accomplishing anything Sexton is enacting a stunt. However, if he’s not careful, he could start us down a very dangerous path where law enforcement is used to try and pressure lawmakers in one direction or another, and you’re deluded if you don’t think the other side is going to just sit this out.
I mean, these are the same people who have set up “autonomous zones” in multiple major cities. Do you really think they wouldn’t try something like this?