Colorado Sheriffs Against Tighter Gun Laws
The new Colorado gun legislation has sparked a blaze of discontent as more than a dozen county sheriffs held a rally on Wednesday, speaking out against the latest magazine capacity restrictions, in the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Denver, where he advocated tightening the gun laws.
The sheriffs in uniform, sixteen of them, some holding the American flag held a news conference at Fred Thomas park in Denver. The rally was less than a mile away from the Denver Police Academy, where the president was meeting the state law enforcement and community leaders to support the recently signed firearms control measures.
The crowd was whistling and yee-hawing in support as Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith told that “ We are here to provide a voice to the millions of honest, law-abiding Coloradans who were ignored by their governor as well as by the majority party at the State House. ”He accused the president of avoiding public debate with those who oppose the gun law.
“While these dedicated county sheriffs stand here publicly for the rights of their citizens, the president later today will be hiding behind the walls at the Denver Police Academy, surrounded with a handpicked audience of gun-control supporters and police employees coerced (into attending) his political rally as he declares victory for the Denver Gov. John Hickenlooper,” Smith concluded.
He also elaborated that the newest firearms control measure, passed by Democratic representatives and signed by Governor John Hickenlooper, would not have prevented the mass shootings in Denver’s Aurora movie theater and the elementary school in Newton, Conn.
“Colorado sheriffs know what dangers their communities face. You see, we enforce the laws to protect our citizens from those who want to steal their property and harm them or their families,“ Smith said. “The problem isn’t that we don’t have enough laws to protect our community. The problem is that the system doesn’t hold criminals accountable for their crimes.“
Sheriff Smith called the Obama’s visit a “slap in the face to all Coloradans“, and added that the real help would be providing the patrolling officers with a real-time access to the database of felons who are prohibited by state and federal law from possessing firearms.
Someone from the crowd shouted, “Give’em hell, Terry,“ as El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa called Hickenlooper a liar. After the shootings in July, the governor said that more restricting gun laws would most likely not prevented the incident. Later he said “We should have this debate, “ but the debate never took place. “The new gun legislation was ramrodded through,“ said the sheriff.
Maketa believes that the new gun laws infringe the Second Amendment right to bear arms. “We had those rights before this country was even formed as humans. The constitution is what protected those rights from government intrusion.“
The rally, however, has shown an opposing opinion between big city police chiefs and county sheriffs. While the Colorado Association of Police Chiefs supports the restrictive legislation, the County Sherifs of Colorado do not.
Broomfield Police Chief Thomas Deland, president of the association, said that the group supports the enforced background checks because even though it won’t stop all illegal gun sales, it will stop the “many people who easily can possess a weapon who should not be allowed to do so.“
On the other hand, the County Sherifs of Colorado have released a note in January, where they wrote, “CSCO will not waiver on our defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve every constituent’s right to possess a firearm. We believe the Second Amendment is no less important as the other nine Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights. Also, gun control does not equate to lower crime rates, which is really what we strive for … The County Sheriffs of Colorado know firsthand that strict gun control laws do not deter criminals from getting firearms illegally and committing crimes. Rather, they hurt law-abiding citizens who may be left unprotected because law enforcement cannot arrive in time to stop a criminal’s bullet once he has pulled the trigger.”