Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith announced on his Facebook page Wednesday that he would not enforce gun control laws that he deemed to be unconstitutional.
Smith singled out President Obama’s proposal to require universal background checks on all gun purchases, including private transactions between individuals. A similar law will be introduced in Colorado, where it is presumed to have wide support in the Democrat-dominated legislature.
“The only possible way to achieve ‘universal background checks’ for private transactions of lawfully-owned firearms is to register every single firearm in existence in our nation,” Smith wrote. “Otherwise, the federal government could never prove the transaction of a firearm. Anyone who fails to go through with such registration will be defined as a criminal by our federal government.”
Smith also wrote that “through tradition and law,” the Sheriff’s Office has the “absolute obligation to protect the rights of the citizens of the county” and that his office is “not a subservient department of county, state or federal government.”
He wrote that he would not enforce or obey unconstitutional federal laws or allow others to violate the constitutional rights of county citizens.
“I will not allow unconstitutional proposals to stand,” he wrote.
Larimer County Sheriffs have a tradition of threatening to ignore gun control policies they dislike. The previous sheriff, Jim Alderden, said publicly in 2010 that he would work to undermine a ban on concealed-carry weapons on the Colorado State University campus, telling the Colorado Springs Gazette that not only would he refuse to book a person charged with violating the ban into his jail, but that he would also testify on their behalf if they were ever taken to court.
“I will do whatever I can to discourage a conviction,” he told the paper.
When asked by the Fort Collins Coloradoan about Smith’s Facebook post, Larimer County Commissioner Steve Johnson said, “Last time I checked in my civics class, the only ones that could rule a law unconstitutional sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.”
Smith also asked his Facebook supporters to post comments on the Coloradoan article because people who don’t share his views are “speaking loudly” in the comments forum.
“I encourage you to voice your opinion there as well so that the discussion isn’t one-sided,” he wrote.
Smith was in a meeting Friday and unavailable to comment.
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