Revolt of the Sheriffs: Some Cops Refuse to Enforce Gun Control Laws

Some sheriffs across the country are refusing to enforce new gun-control measures. The New York Times reports that this alarming trend has spread from Colorado to New York to California.


Earlier this year, in response to the mass shootings that took place in Aurora, Colorado, and Newtown, Connecticut, the Colorado legislature passed a series of gun control measures. The backlash was swift: Two state senators who supported gun control lost recall elections, and a third resigned before facing a recall. But now the backlash has migrated over to some sheriffs refusing to enforce the law.

All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in the state have signed on to a lawsuit challenging the gun control laws. Many say they are not going to enforce them, in any case. The state’s top law enforcement officials say there is little they can do.

In New York, two sheriffs have said that they would not enforce gun control measures passed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in January. The governor called the threats of inaction on the law “a dangerous and frightening precedent."

In Florida, a jury acquitted a sheriff on charges of misconduct after the officer released a man who arrested for carrying a concealed firearm. The sheriff, who after being suspended was reinstated by the governor, said he was protecting the man’s Second Amendment rights.

And in California, a group of sheriffs met with the governor to persuade him to veto gun control laws passed in the state.  “Our way of life means nothing to these politicians, and our interests are not being promoted in the legislative halls of Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” said one California sheriff,  Jon E. Lopey. He added that enforcing gun control laws would not be a priority.

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