Deschutes County Sheriff Larry Blanton is exactly right that when it comes to enforcing the law as laid out by the U. S. attorney general, if you can’t comply as a law enforcement officer, it’s time to seek another line of employment (“Sheriffs line up against gun plan,” The Bulletin, Jan. 17). It’s alarming that the Crook County and Linn County sheriffs would publicly state their intention to not enforce “any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the president,” that they interpret as, “offending the constitutional rights of my citizens.” This is their personal response to the possibility that Congress might adopt new laws relating to ownership of certain types of guns.
Since when do law local enforcement officials, especially elected officials, get to decide unilaterally which laws or regulations they will choose to enforce based on their personal understanding of the Constitution?
This attitude, apparently based on a tragic misunderstanding of basic American civics, goes far beyond the narrow issue of gun control. We learn in middle school that it’s the job of our democratically elected representatives in Washington, D.C., to adopt laws and regulations, it’s the job of law enforcement personnel to enforce those laws (all of them), and it’s the job of the courts to intervene if it turns out that any specific law does in fact violate the Constitution.
Any law enforcement officer, especially an elected official, who doesn’t get this immediately disqualifies himself from serving in that position, regardless of his position on gun control.