|Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller looking mighty proud|
No sooner had Vice-President Biden made his recommendations regarding federal gun policy in the wake of the recent gun-related horrors across the country than local-yokel dingbats --excuse me --duly-elected county officials in Linn, Curry, and Crook Counties, right here in Oregon, felt it their duty to pen letters to the President. The sheriffs of each of those counties informed the President that they will not enforce any federal gun regulations that they --those sheriffs! --deem unconstitutional. Those sheriffs! (Read about it here.)
Leave aside the fact that neither the President nor the Vice-President have proposed anything unconstitutional (least of all confiscating weapons from law-abiding citizens). The reaction from the three county officials in question, Sheriffs Mueller (Linn County), Hensley (Crook County), and Bishop (Curry County) bespeak an ignorance of basic civics that is startling. (You can read the President's proposals here.)
Within the text of the letter written by Linn County's Sheriff Mueller is this key paragraph:
Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Linn County Oregon.On the one hand, it is mighty encouraging to think that the good folks in Linn, Curry, and Crook county are served by such knowledgeable sheriffs. Constitutional scholars aren't a dime a dozen, you know? Imagine! On-the-fly constitutional interpretation by tinhorn errand boys. What could go wrong?
But, on the other hand, you know, if we really want to adhere to the US Constitution, it might be good to remember that interpreting it is a duty that falls to the federal courts. It's written in there. As Jeff Manning, of the Oregon Department of Justice said: "The fact is the constitutionality of rules is determined by the courts, not by sheriffs."