Some Oregon sheriffs are embarrassing us

Carla Axtman

Good grief.


An Oregon sheriff says he will not enforce any federal regulation that President Barack Obama lays out in his package of gun control proposals Wednesday.

Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller joins several other public officials across the nation who have decided to square off with the White House even before it outlines what its plans are for expanded measures.

Mueller sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden this week saying he won't enforce any federal regulation "offending the constitutional rights of my citizens." He won't permit federal officers to come to his county to enforce such laws either, he said.

Local officials don't get to make that call, of course. The FBI will do it--and I expect they don't need the sheriff's permission to enforce them.

It's not the job of the sheriff to pick and choose which laws he/she thinks are constitutional. It's the job of the sheriff to enforce the laws under his/her jurisdiction, or resign the post. Given that our own legislature may very well pass stronger legislation to curb gun violence, Sheriff Mueller may soon find himself on notice.

Sadly, a slew of other Oregon sheriffs have decided to embarrass us by following suit. This includes the sheriff of my own county: Washington. Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett's letter is especially silly, as if he really believes he'll be asked to enforce federal gun laws. Its a little distressing that my tax dollars are going to pay his salary, to be candid. This cynical, silly letter was probably not written during his off-hours either.

I found this quote in this AP piece on the topic rather interesting as well:

The National Sheriff's Association has supported administration efforts to combat gun violence after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. President Larry Amerson, sheriff of Calhoun, Ala., said he understands the frustrations of people in rural areas with the federal government. But he feels his oath of office binds him to uphold all laws.

"Any sheriff who knows his duty knows we don't enforce federal law, per se," said Amerson, a longtime firearms instructor and hunter.

Yeah. This really is embarrassing. Our own county sheriffs don't even understand this, it seems. Or this is just a bunch of BS political posturing in order to placate a perceived constituency. In that case, its nothing less than an insult to the voters of the various counties.

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