Law enforcement officers and the unenforceable gun control laws being passed across the country

by Jim Shepherd

What does a law-enforcement officer do when the elected officials pass legislation that he knows is simply unenforceable? That's a quandry facing law officers in many parts of the country as feel-good but do-nothing anti-gun legislation continues to pass through state legislatures.

There have been several sheriffs speak out and say-clearly- they're not going to try and enforce unenforceable laws. The latest is Weld County, Colorado sheriff John Cooke. He's gone on record say he won't enforce the expanded firearms backgound checks the Colorado legislature passed last week-even if it is signed into law (as is expected) by Governor John Hickenlooper. Cooke said the same thing about the 15-round limit on magazines the legislature has also passed.

His reasoning is simple: the laws are unenforceable and, simply stated, "give a false sense of security." As he told the Colorado media "They're (the laws) feel-good, knee-jerk reactions that are unenforceable. Criminals are still going to get guns."

Language in the Colorado magazine ban calls for a ban on all magazines that can be altered. If there's a magazine that can't be modified, I've yet to see it. Ergo, all magazines could be banned under the Colorado law.

That's one of the areas where it seems legislators are so busy to do something that they're doing something they didn't intend: spending taxpayer dollars to defend -and eventually amend- bad legislation that is shakily drawn and only considered to see how it plays to their loyal constituencies and the media.

Over the weekend, I was asked a very good question about law enforcement opposition to these types of over-reaching legislation: why is it that sheriffs are speaking out, but we're not seeing many police chiefs in those areas oppose these new laws?

That's one I can answer with reasonable certainty. Sheriffs are elected officials, serving at the will of the people (the electorate). Chiefs of police are appointed to their jobs, serving at the whim of the current party in charge of their respective city halls.

That's not to say the chiefs in Chicago or Washington, DC oppose their cities' anti-gun positions, they obviously do. And they've been paraded out whenever their bosses have a photo-op where they'd be appropriate. As appointees, there's precious little career-security in telling emperors they're jaybird naked.

So it's up to the citizens in those areas to make a difference. At this point, it seems the residents of Chicago and Washington, DC are stuck with what they've elected.

Fortunately, businessmen in those areas with anti-gun owner laws under consideration aren't hesitating to vote with their feet. As we've reported, Magpul has told Colorado legislators in no uncertain terms that Gov. Hickenlooper's signatures on those bills will start the migration process out of the state. Magpul's larger suppliers have promised the same consequence, but politicians have essentially told their constituents their jobs aren't as important as these pieces of feel-good legislation.

Our colleague Michael Bane is a Colorado resident, and he's fought long and hard against ridiculous rulings there. His ongoing battles with officials who invented reasons to close shooting ranges on public land are legendary, but he's taken an even harder line this time with his home state.

Bane, and other producers from the Outdoor Channel, have said they're no longer going to do TV show production in Colorado. For Michael, that means having to move to shooting facilities in New Mexico and rescheduling show elements that would have featured Colorado.

The impact isn't the same as Magpul's moving hundreds of jobs, but symbolism aside, there is still an economic impact. Although he made his intent to move production elsewhere very clear prior to members of the Colorado legislature prior to passage of these two laws, he was, like Magpul, ignored.

Watching this fight from the sidelines is no longer an option. It's going to take shoe leather to stop these ill-disguised campaigns to outlaw firearms in the United States. That's because politicians have successfully demonized organizations that represent gun owners.

This time, it's going to take gun owners' participation. As the lobbying efforts to stop this kind of legislation seems to be working in Washington, it has continued to fall short on the state levels. This is no longer a fight we can win using an "institutional" approach. It's going to take people telling their elected representatives there will be a high price to pay for passing legislation designed to do nothing more than criminalize the law-abiding citizens who choose to own firearms.

If there's no penalty, there's no reason to expect them to do otherwise.

Republished from The Outdoor Wire.

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