That’s from a NYT report on 479 sheriffs across the country who are refusing to enforce, or coyly talking about lax enforcement, their own states’ new gun laws.
Now I’m all in favor of tension between Washington and the state capitols, jury nullification, and all the other official and unofficial checks and balances we enjoy under our system — but don’t forget the danger, either.
What we’re witnessing now is the latest in the centuries-old tension between rural and urban America. In this case, gun-hating elites in the big cities get hold of the state government, and pass new gun laws. Rural sheriffs refuse to obey them. I haven’t seen the list of the seven Colorado sheriffs who are OK with the new measures, but I’m betting they’re clustered around Denver, Boulder, and ski country.
I’m no fan of gun control. I want these laws repealed. But this isn’t a state resisting the federal government encroaching on it powers in violation of the Constitution or the 9th and 10th amendments. These are subordinate counties acting in violation of their own state governments. The sheriffs are morally right to do what they’re doing, but we’re entering a lawless zone here we could come to regret.
I’d add that the situation is not the fault of the sheriffs, but rather the fault of our over-lawed, over-regulated society. Government can govern only so much before governance becomes impossible.