Sheriff Richard Mack gained fame in the 1990s and became a Tea Party darling when he and six other sheriffs challenged the constitutionality of the gun-control measure commonly known as the Brady Bill. In a case that went to the Supreme Court, Mack’s attorneys successfully argued that local law enforcement jurisdictions can’t be compelled to carry out federally mandated background checks. It was seen as a huge victory for the sovereignty of local jurisdictions. Three years ago, Mack wrote a book, “The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope.” In it, he asserted that sheriffs have the supreme law enforcement power in their counties under the Constitution and the 10th Amendment. Much of what federal agents are doing in counties is unconstitutional, he wrote. Federal agents have no authority beyond policing treason, piracy, treaty violations and counterfeiting.
Sheriff Richard Mack organized The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association’s inaugural convention that was designed to be the national coming-out for this idea and the start of an educational movement that its founder hopes will sweep the country. The 100 or so sheriffs gathered in a Las Vegas hotel ballroom two weeks ago learned that some weighty titles have been attached to the stars they wear on their chests. Sheriffs, including eight from Colorado, learned that they need to protect their citizenry from much more than local lawbreaker’s. In today’s world, public enemy No. 1 just might be the federal government — or the “out-of-control federal bureaucracy,” as organizers of the convention like to refer to it. The person who will “stand tall against federal tyranny,” even if it means armed resistance, according to organizers, is the county sheriff.
The scofflaws that sheriffs might encounter today — and who should be run out of town by a SWAT team, if that’s what it takes — include agents for the U.S. Forest Service; the Bureau of Land Management; the IRS; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Environmental Protection Agency; and even the Food and Drug Administration. Online Constitutional Sheriffs materials state, “The sheriff’s position overrides any federal agents or even the arrogant FBI agents who attempt to assume jurisdiction in our cases.”
“I think sheriffs went because they just wanted to be informed about what is expected of a sheriff,” said Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell. “I know I want to make sure the federal government does what it’s supposed to do and doesn’t encroach on the rights of my citizens. As for that making us radicals, I don’t see that.”
Some of the speakers at the convention did tell of confrontations that involved the threat of officers for different agencies trying to arrest each other. The use of force was not ruled out.
Elkhart County, Ind., Sheriff Brad Rogers told of chasing federal regulators out of his county after they repeatedly did inspections at an Amish dairy farm that was selling raw milk. He threatened to arrest the regulators if they tried to come back.
Sheriff Tony DeMeo of Nye County, Nev., recounted how he had to threaten to bring out his SWAT team to go up against a federal government SWAT team when federal agents were seizing cattle from a local rancher.
Sheriff Dave Mattis of Big Horn County, Wyo., told the conference about the edict he has issued in his county. Federal agents are forbidden to enter his territory without his approval.
El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who attended with El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, gave a presentation that took another tack. She told how her county recently passed a resolution to nullify the National Defense Authorization Act. She urged other counties to do the same. Fear that this act gives the federal government the power to arrest and detain citizens without filing charges or seeking convictions is another issue that garners a lot of attention on websites associated with the Constitutional Sheriffs group.
Several representatives for the FBI at the state and national level said they had not heard of the Constitutional Sheriffs movement. They declined to comment.
Mack said he is already planning a second convention for this summer, when he will continue to promote the idea that “the greatest threat to our freedom now is the federal government.”
With any hope; we now have New Sheriff’s in town…
Thank you to Nancy Lofholm at the Denver Post for the base of this article. http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_19946455