Commentary: Sheriffs are blowing smoke over 'unconstitutional' gun laws

The Fort Worth Star-TelegramJanuary 24, 2013 

When Texas sheriffs say they won't enforce "unconstitutional" gun laws, it means only one thing.

They think voters are dumb enough to believe them.

Otherwise, the chest-pounding proclamations by Collin County Sheriff Terry Box and others aren't worth the Facebook pages they're printed on.

A few cornpone sheriffs looked up from their whittle blocks or domino games this week and decided to get some TV time by lashing out against new gun laws from -- as Box says -- "Warshington."

But if you read what they said, they're really just blowing hot air.

So far, every sheriff has left enough wiggle room to drive an armored command unit through.

Take Box. The 37-year sheriff, a McKinney native, wrote that he and his deputies won't "participate in the enforcement of laws that violate our precious constitutional rights."

Obviously, whether a law is constitutional is not decided by Sheriff Box.

So basically, he's just saying, "If the courts say it's not constitutional, we won't do it."

Try it yourself. We can all play this game:

"I hereby notify the people of Tarrant County, particularly the Greater Watauga Tea Party, that this column will not be part of any pernicious scheme to enforce an unconstitutional law, particularly if it will cause the hens to stop laying or the cows to stop giving milk."

See how easy it is?

You, too, can run for sheriff.

Here in Tarrant County, we went through all this a few years ago. Sheriff David Williams announced that he ruled under "sovereignty" granted in the Magna Carta and that he didn't have to obey anybody else.

County attorneys clarified that the sheriff's power is limited to what's in the Texas Constitution.

If you don't believe me, look it up. Our Framers did not grant sheriffs the power to pick and choose favorite laws.

At the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law in Fort Worth, Professor Lynne Rambo laughed at the question.

"There seems to be a wide misconception about the meaning of the Second Amendment," she said, explaining that all rights are tailored around any "compelling interest," and that includes gun restrictions.

"Also, there's this part called the Supremacy Clause," she said, "even though a lot of people in Texas don't like it."

It's Article 6.

Read it to your sheriff.

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