Shawn Vestal: ‘Constitutional sheriffs’ who reject new gun laws are a threat to democratic principles

Shawn Vestal: ‘Constitutional sheriffs’ who reject new gun laws are a threat to democratic principles

Gun Rights

Shawn Vestal (Dan Pelle / DAN PELLE) Are you tired of democratic principles? Bored with the worn-out notion that when most people vote for something, it should be law? Are you weary of the time-consuming requirement that courts, not elected officials, determine whether laws are constitutional? Do you yearn for the yoke of an authoritarian? A tiny, puffed-up king ruling over you in a tiny kingdom? If so, then good news for you. There are a number of Washington counties that might be right up your alley – counties where the sheriffs are puffing out their chests and declaring themselves monarchs who unilaterally decide which laws they will and will not enforce. All in the name of the Constitution. What’s happening in a lot of rural Washington counties – as well as rural counties around the West – is a bad old idea from the radical, anti-government right that is seeping dangerously into the offices of elected sheriffs. It’s an ideological outgrowth of the “constitutional sheriff” movement, which holds that county sheriffs are the ultimate authority and can act unilaterally as a bulwark against the overreaching federal government by simply refusing to follow laws or regulations they believe are unconstitutional. It’s one thing when this crackpot idea is bandied about in the fever swamps. To see elected, oath-swearing sheriffs buy into it is a much bigger problem. Recall that Washington voters passed Initiative 1639 with a 60 percent majority. The new law raises the minimum age of purchasing a […]

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