Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 Editorial • Lassen County Sheriff offers a more practical solution

Publisher’s note: This story is reprinted from the Feb. 26, 2013 edition of the Lassen County Times.

An estimated 80 or 90 Lassen County residents recently packed the dining room at the Pizza Factory to attend a TEA Party Patriots meeting featuring a presentation by Lassen County Sheriff Dean Growdon.

With gun control proposals coming from both the federal and state governments and reports of gun violence taking up lots of bandwidth in the national media these days, it’s not surprising many TEA Party Patriots expressed their concern about this issue and their constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Some praised Modoc County Sheriff Mike Poindexter who recently took a defiant stand in a couple of letters that he “absolutely will not tolerate any infringement upon your liberties pertaining to accessing or legally hunting on your public lands” — regardless of federal laws which regulate hunting on federal lands in his county. He advised hunters to “cooperate but stand their ground and call the sheriff’s office” if federal law enforcement officers detained them. Poindexter also wrote to Vice President Joe Biden that he will not enforce federal gun control regulations he believes are unconstitutional.

According to Poindexter’s letter to Biden, “Politicians are exhibiting a ‘knee jerk reaction’ and attempting to punish the masses and usurp our sacred Constitution … We will not stand idly by while our citizens are turned into criminals due to the misguided intentions of politicians who choose to ignore their sacred oath of office, to wit the Second and 10th amendments to the United States Constitution.”

Growdon says he has a justly earned reputation as a “pro-gun sheriff,” and he offers an alternative to Poindexter and the other so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” who have also said they also will not enforce federal gun laws with which they disagree.

Growdon said he will protect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners in Lassen County, and he even said he would resign before he would go around the county confiscating weapons.

Growdon told the TEA Party Patriots he is a member of the California State Sheriffs Association, and the group’s approach is to meet and talk face-to-face with decision-makers and attempt to influence their opinions on proposed legislation.

But having said that, Growdon shared the concerns of the TEA Party members regarding possible gun control legislation at both the state and federal level.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the TEA Party Patriots and the Constitutional Sheriffs across the country need to recognize our society and our nation are based upon the rule of law. While we may not agree with every law passed by our elected officials, we must obey them, nonetheless. We step off onto a slippery slope toward chaos and anarchy if we allow or encourage law enforcement officials to decide which laws they will enforce.

The Founding Fathers created three branches of government to serve as checks and balances against each other. The judicial branch has the jurisdiction and authority to declare a law unconstitutional. If these sheriffs and their supporters believe a law is unconstitutional, the courts provide the proper venue to address their concerns.

We hope Growdon and others like him who are willing to sit down and discuss the issues of the day can prevail in their efforts to steer lawmakers in the right direction.