August 22, 2014 12:01 am -

Here is about the last story I would expect to read on plain vanilla NBC News. Maybe the whole Ferguson mess is prompting a few producers, editors, and reporters in corporate media to start covering real news that effects your security: sheriffs using an “interpretation” of the Constitution that was pulled out of the gun lobby’s ample sphincter.

With more states passing stronger gun control laws, rural sheriffs across the country are taking their role as defenders of the Constitution to a new level by protesting such restrictions and, in some cases, refusing to enforce the laws.

Sheriff Mike Lewis considers himself the last man standing for the people of Wicomico County, Maryland.


“State police and highway patrol get their orders from the governor,” the sheriff said. “I get my orders from the citizens in this county.”

Lewis and other like-minded sheriffs have been joined by groups like Oath Keepers and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, both of which encourage law enforcement officers to take a stand against gun control laws.

While the position of sheriff is not found in the U.S. Constitution, it is listed in state constitutions. Nearly all of America’s 3,080 sheriffs are elected to their positions, whereas state and city police officials are appointed.

Lewis and other sheriffs, and their supporters, say that puts them in the best position to stand up to gun laws they consider unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms.

“The role of a sheriff is to be the interposer between the law and the citizen,” said Maryland Delegate Don Dwyer, an Anne Arundel County Republican. “He should stand between the government and citizen in every issue pertaining to the law.”

[su_r_sky_ad][… which goes a long way toward explaining why they enforce illegal eviction notices — I mean, God forbid the gubmint should step in and defend a homeowner being cheated out of their home… but I digress…]

When Lewis was president of the Maryland Sheriffs’ Association, he testified with other sheriffs against the state’s Firearms Safety Act (FSA) before it was enacted in 2013. One of the strictest gun laws in the nation, the act requires gun applicants to supply fingerprints and complete training to obtain a handgun license online. It bans 45 types of firearms, limits magazines to 10 rounds and outlaws gun ownership for people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.

After Lewis opposed the bill, he said he was inundated with emails, handwritten letters, phone calls and visits from people thanking him for standing up for gun rights.

D.B. Hirsch
D.B. Hirsch is a political activist, news junkie, and retired ad copy writer and spin doctor. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

67 responses to Out Of Control: Sheriffs Refuse To Do Their Job

  1. Maxx44 August 22nd, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Were those handwritten letters in crayons?

  2. RioBravoHombre August 22nd, 2014 at 12:08 am

    The year I was born, a Sheriff and his deputies in rural Mississippi decided what laws they would enforce. That decision led them to kidnap Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, torture them and assassinate them. The bodies were then entombed in an earthen dam. It’s good to see that conservatives haven’t changed and are willing to flout any law they deem unacceptable.

    • Herb Sarge Phelps August 22nd, 2014 at 12:38 am

      I remember those three young men murdered in Philadelphia Ms. back then. I was about 50 miles away and remember what people were saying in the area. It was a time when States Rights was yelled, but what they were really saying was, “open season on black people”.

      • RioBravoHombre August 22nd, 2014 at 2:17 am

        My Mom’s family is from south of I-10 in Louisiana. I have KKK relatives, including my Granddad and loads of uncles and cousins. They still blather, prattle and babble about state’s rights and a new Confederacy.

        • John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 8:50 am

          I see, so you deny that states’ rights are part of the Federal Constitution? (Hint, it comes after #9 and before #11)

          • RioBravoHombre August 22nd, 2014 at 11:25 am

            States rights is racist code for racist lies…do you deny that? Do you think the Civil War was over slavery? Or, do you lie to yourself and the rest of us and claim it was fought for states rights? States rightists are nothing but Confederate loving racists who want to return blacks to slavery. Do you deny that?

          • Khary A August 22nd, 2014 at 11:58 am

            Get em Rio.

          • RioBravoHombre August 22nd, 2014 at 12:07 pm

            My caffeine level is high and getting higher!

          • wjshelton August 22nd, 2014 at 12:21 pm

            How convenient of you to skip over a later amendment that guarantees due process and equal access to the law to ALL people and extends the Bill of Rights’ guarantees to the states. (Hint, it comes after #13 and before # 15). Ignorant cracker!

        • grrace August 22nd, 2014 at 3:01 pm

          If you are in a “show your ID to vote” state. I think it would be very positive if they accidentally lost their ID. 😀

      • granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 7:44 am

        pretty much like the white republicans yelling ‘rule of law’ now.

  3. Maluminse August 22nd, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Im a true blue progressive. I campaigned for Obama which I now regret due to the nsa revelations. (Yes I know he didnt start it) But I digress.

    What bafffles me is I always imagined those that stood for the people supported the bill of rights. The Bill of Rights are powers specifically retained to the people. All of them.

    Beyond that it also seems like a progressive position to say that people that are protesting government overreaching, like those in Ferguson, should have some method of ultimate defiance/insurance.

    The 2nd to me, like the 1st, is a method of government check.

    • Tommy6860 August 22nd, 2014 at 12:38 am

      But it’s interesting when people ignore the Articles of the Constitution. This sheriff is not the Constitution unto himself, it’s why we elect lawmakers by the will of the people. Men like this nutcase, are no different than the dictators they claim to protect us from.

      • Maluminse August 22nd, 2014 at 12:49 am

        Well it is an interesting point they make. They are elected leaders. But I also agree police choosing which laws to enforce is problematic.

        But posit this. At what point does the sheriff, the soldier, reject his orders and defend the people?

        Imagine 1943. Your a German soldier. Or Egypt in the past few years. You see the people being abused. At some point it is an elected or government official which rejects the powers that be that takes the side of the people.

        If the democratic system has failed when does the soldier defend the man and not the throne?

        • tiredoftea August 22nd, 2014 at 12:54 am

          The democratic system hasn’t failed But, may if people like this sheriff and the fringe crazies he follows are permitted to pick and choose the laws they will enforce.

          • Maluminse August 22nd, 2014 at 1:00 am

            Thats not the question. The question is when does the soldier/sheriff reject the system?

            I vehemently disagree that the system has not failed. Any assemblance of democracy is gone. Taken over by mass megapoly corporations and their lobbyists. Media is controlled by a handful of corporations. Dem and Rep are the same party.

            I digress.

            Question remains: When does the sailor preach mutiny?

          • granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 7:42 am

            Dems and Reps are by no stretch of the imagination anywhere close to being the same. Rep’s believe in ‘the rule of law’ like in Nevada – ‘the rule of the white racist law by the force of arms’, Dems on the other hand realize it for what it was – a failed coupe by white racist terrorist thugs – supported politically by the white republicans and their contacts in the us military. No way are those idiots that stupid without having heavy political cover – enough to allow them to merely walk away fully armed armed under the ‘rule of republican white racist law’.

          • John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 8:48 am

            The coup happened when Obama got elected, aided and abetted by the main stream media who did not thoroughly vet this leftist communist community agitator. A man so far out of his league it isn’t funny.

          • grrace August 22nd, 2014 at 2:57 pm

            Wow. So, you must have rrreally hated Bush.

          • William Carr September 2nd, 2014 at 10:13 am

            There’s your problem. Falling for the myth that Dems and Republicans are the “same party”.

            Your logic is impaired.

        • Tommy6860 August 22nd, 2014 at 12:56 am

          Only if when that soldier, (or if this sheriff) in fact actually understands the meaning of what the purpose of the Constitution is. From what I’ve read he doesn’t, and he’s more dangerous. But since you brought up the “German Soldier”, they wound up following a former soldier who used the same premise as this sheriff did, his name was Adolf Hitler. Again, the Articles of the Constitution, when they are disallowed, then you have a point, but that make the sheriff as dangerous as the government official he so detests.

        • M D Reese August 22nd, 2014 at 2:34 am

          Oh please….

        • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 10:29 am

          When votes don’t count.

    • tiredoftea August 22nd, 2014 at 12:42 am

      “The 2nd to me, like the 1st, is a method of government check.” Uhh, no. Time to get your money back from Beck U.

      • Maluminse August 22nd, 2014 at 12:45 am

        Just saying no is not a response. Explain.

        • William Carr September 2nd, 2014 at 10:11 am

          The Second Amendment declares that a Well Regulated Militia is important to the security of a Free State.

          Nothing there about overthrowing the Government because your candidate didn’t win.

    • mea_mark August 22nd, 2014 at 10:36 am

      The ballot box is the way to check government. As long as the people can vote that is what we do. If government tyranny ever gets to the point where we can’t vote or are votes don’t count then the people should look to other solutions. My first option would be shutting down the economy and calling a general strike of everybody, a peaceful non-violent solution. Violence should always be last resort.

    • JMax August 22nd, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      The Second Amendment does not say, “A well-armed citizenry, being necessary to shoot at or threaten by force of arms the duly elected government, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” Articles I and II provide the methods for keeping the government in check.

  4. granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 12:28 am

    and now we know why no white racist terrorist thug can do any more wrong than members of the 3rd Reich. F -em and any NRA laws that attempt to restrict Black Americans from defending their life or the lives of their families.

    • Tommy6860 August 22nd, 2014 at 12:45 am

      Yep and what this sheriff is doing by claiming he’s upholding the Constitution by ignoring government laws, is unlawful. This based on the fact that he is a government official, placed there by the laws of the elected legislators put in office by the will of the people. Since he is part government, maybe he should learn what the purpose of the Constitution is, that being, to limit the power of government and enumerate what it can do. He is, by de facto admission, violating that premise.

      • M D Reese August 22nd, 2014 at 2:33 am

        Not to mention that Federal Law trumps county officials from the get go.

        • granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 7:47 am

          when they wish to comply.

      • John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 8:42 am

        Get your Obama to stop and maybe everyone else will do so too.

    • John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 8:42 am

      The Third Reich was a socialist entity that’s why they were called NATIONAL SOCIALISTS, you know, where every dictate comes from an all powerful central government. And you know, they also were big on “crony capitalism”, just like our current governing administration.

      • William Carr September 2nd, 2014 at 10:08 am

        Conservatives are so easily fooled.

        The biggest Party in post WWI Germany was the Democratic Socialist Party.

        There was no possibility of defeating it from outside, so Hitler’s group infiltrated it.

        Hitler did a lot of rabble rousing, and recruited the Brown Shirts; his own rioters who would attack the business or property of anyone he didn’t like.

        There was an election, and Hitler lost; he got only about a third of the votes.

        But he had that weapon; the Hitler Youth.

        So the President of Germany offered Hitler a deal; he could have the minor post of Chancellor if he disbanded the Hitler Youth and agreed that he could NEVER achieve the power of the Presidency.

        Hitler turned on the Brown Shirts. But he eventually seized the power of the Presidency.

        From that point on, he was running everything and elections no longer mattered.

        Nazi Germany became a Police State. There was nothing “Socialist” or “Democratic” about it.

        We can SEE this happening in the USA at the State level, as the cops seize more and more power.

        As for “Crony Capitalism”, you’re describing Fascist Italy.

        That’s what Fascism is, Government controlled by Corporate Power.

  5. tiredoftea August 22nd, 2014 at 12:44 am

    “Lewis and other sheriffs, and their supporters, say that puts them in the best position to stand up to gun laws they consider unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms.” So, in effect, they are choosing to be judges and not law enforcement? What fools these fringies be.

  6. R J August 22nd, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Just another small nothing of a right wing male, who without his job would have zero power in life

  7. Herb Sarge Phelps August 22nd, 2014 at 12:51 am

    This is the trend that has disturbed me for years. Notice it is a rural area. The GOP and FLEA Party are getting to those people and spreading their poison freely, and with poorer schools and lower opportunities, they are ripe for the plucking.

    • raincheck August 22nd, 2014 at 6:41 am

      “with poorer schools and lower opportunities, they are ripe for the plucking.” Said/thought all across the Country

    • Shades August 22nd, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Yep, this ignorant yahoos are now spreading the story they can form citizen grand juries and force courts to indict anyone they want, be it the neighbor whose grass is too high or the black guy who thinks he’s president.

  8. R J August 22nd, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Stanford Prison Experiment Part 1:

  9. Nabil Al-Murabit August 22nd, 2014 at 1:33 am

    Hmmmm, I wonder how many well armed Blacks live in this douche’s county. I’m guessing there aren’t too many, because if there were, he’d wouldn’t have that position

  10. Steve Withers August 22nd, 2014 at 3:15 am

    You wish the 4th Amendment was as staunchly defended….but no.

    • MiAtheistGal August 22nd, 2014 at 6:53 am

      I wish any of the other amendments were defended as staunchly.

  11. raincheck August 22nd, 2014 at 6:34 am

    .”I get my orders from the citizens in this county.” (At least the ones that vote for me in my gerrymandered district)

    • granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 7:26 am

      bet they all support ‘the rule of law’ that prevents a black male from (legally) having a gun to protect themselves and their families from white racist.

      • Dan Hyatt August 22nd, 2014 at 9:23 am

        Actually in St Louis Missouri, it went from Concealed carry permit to concealed carry endorsement specifically to address racism.
        In st Louis before most people who got thier permit application refused were black, and out of almost 1000 arrests for illegal carry where there were NO OTHER CHARGES in STL, there was only 1 white man charged with illegal CCW, the rest were black.
        Now the County police chief must provide good reason to refuse an endorsement…and it is no longer a permit. Mo is a SHALL ISSUE state

  12. liberalMD August 22nd, 2014 at 6:41 am

    While the Constitution doesn’t specifically describe the job of sheriff, it does call for the separation of powers into a legislative(the establishment of laws), an executive(the enforcement of laws) and a judicial(the interpretation of laws) branch. If this sheriff wants to interpret the law, he should run for a judgeship.

  13. granpa.usthai August 22nd, 2014 at 7:21 am

    well, you can’t make white officials obey a Black President if they’ve a collective mind not to do so, being that they all of course ‘believe in the rule of law’. (new catch phrase I’ve picked up on by the white republicans)
    perhaps we are not asking the right questions?
    perhaps this nice friendly smiling sheriff (or any white republican/US Military leader, etc. who would like to jump in) ?

    1. which was your favorite lawless white racist terrorist group in Nevada?

    2. which ‘rule of law’ did you enjoy seeing NOT being upheld in Nevada the most?

    I would dearly love to see any of these ‘believe in the rule of law’ republicans asked this question until they answered it, or hell (not the one in Michigan) freezes over.

    Nazis in Germany came into power the exact same way, and hopefully the military leaders that went along with this white republican sham will suffer the same results.

    How’s about it WHITE Governor Perry (R) Texas, you – wink wink nod nod – support ‘the rule of law’.

  14. John Tarter August 22nd, 2014 at 8:37 am

    They are only doing what Obama does who picks and chooses what laws he wants to enforce, so really what’s the big problem here? At least they aren’t actually changing the laws like our out-of-control president does.

    • ChrisVosburg August 22nd, 2014 at 11:52 am

      John, what would you say is the most egregious example of Obama picking and choosing which laws he wants to enforce? Be specific.

  15. Dan Hyatt August 22nd, 2014 at 9:18 am

    So the law says that if a college study drinks too much and takes pills because he is distraught that his girlfriend broke up with him and is involuntarily committed to the psych ward for a week. He is forbidden from owning a gun 20 years later….so if your wife dies and you become horribly depressed and your family has you committed out of excessive concern. You remarry with no long standing effects….you can never again own a gun.
    No opportunity for revue.

    • ChrisVosburg August 22nd, 2014 at 11:50 am

      Actually, it only requires a note from the applicant’s doctor saying “he’s okay now,” and the erstwhile madman can bang away at shadows again with the best of them.

      • Dan Hyatt August 22nd, 2014 at 12:16 pm

        Picking and choosing which portions of his law deciding what to implement and what not to implement
        Trading a deserter for Gito residents

        His chief legal beagle selling “assault weapons” to enemies of the United States and our allies…after giving the enemies the money to buy them..Fast and Furious

        • tj August 22nd, 2014 at 12:19 pm

          What a shocker, the conservative dan Hyatt knows absolutely nothing about this law, yet is here complaining about things that don’t exist. .and you people wonder why you are a national joke

        • ChrisVosburg August 22nd, 2014 at 12:32 pm

          It’s a little difficult to decipher your non-responsive gibberish, but if you are referring to the gun-walking programs conducted by the Arizona branch of the ATF and begun under the Bush administration, it has been the conclusion of every investigation of same that the programs were not authorized by President Obama or AG Holder, and neither of these guys were even aware of the program.

          Again, what this has to do with my correction of your goofy read of the Maryland Firearms Safety Act is a complete mystery to me. Go home, you’re drunk.

        • William Carr August 28th, 2014 at 10:07 am

          Bergdahl has not been convicted of Desertion.

          He was a POW captured in time of War, and tortured.

          Only the Right Wing crazies think you can accuse a Soldier of being a Deserter and that makes it true.

          It’s disloyal to our troops; it would create a precedent of abandoning a POW, something we’ve never DONE.

          But the Right Wing seize on any issue to use against Obama and politicize it without thinking about the implications.

    • William Carr August 28th, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Actually, the Law would be administered by a Judge, who would decide if there was a clear and present danger, on a case-by-case basis.

  16. Dan Hyatt August 22nd, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Rule of law is what a republic is…but remember, rule of law is not mandating what the sheriff does. When the president refuses to follow the rule of law he is violating the oath of office because he is upsurping the authority of congress and the high court. Police officers and Sheriffs have NEVER been required to draconian enforcement of the law…
    and remember the war crimes tribunal after WWII….it was decided that government officials have the responsibility to disobey an illegal order.
    By the way, the president is not disobeying an order, he is upsurping the authority of congress when he refuses to enforce the law.

    • tj August 22nd, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      By the way, your “info” about POTUS is 100% bs rw propaganda

    • William Carr August 28th, 2014 at 10:02 am

      You’re deluded.

      The Three Branches of our Government have areas of overlapping Authority.

      Congress can regulate Immigration by writing a law. (If they ever BOTHER to do so.)

      The President can regulate Immigration by deciding how to prioritize where he will spend the limited money Congress has already authorized.

      The Courts can regulate Immigration by deciding if the Law Congress passed and the policies the President follows are consistent with the Constitution.

      It’s self-regulating.

      But the Right Wing is spinning their view that a (Democratic) President has no authority to Administer the law.

      It’s funny; when the President was Republican, they gave him MORE power, remember?

      Warrantless Wiretaps, authority to use Torture, authority to use gun-walking (Fast and Furious).

      It’s enough to make you believe Conservatives lie to gain political power…

  17. grrace August 22nd, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    There are only so many ways to describe this “sheriff” as what he is… a nutcase. HE is certifiable & must be removed immediately.

  18. cwazycajun August 22nd, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    so let me get this strait this jackass.. this law enforcement officer..Is willing to put not only his own life but the lives of his deputies and the public’s lives in danger by makeing sure as many people have as many guns as they can have ..under any circumstances well that makes absolutely no friggin sence..we see what happens when his officers go to a call and get shot down because of his skewed ideology

  19. William Carr August 28th, 2014 at 10:17 am

    The Right Wing are Authoritarian in nature… and they’re so terribly frustrated that they don’t hold the Presidency that they’re doing an “end run”.

    Basically, their Sheriffs are trying to seize Presidential power.

    Maybe they can foresee the day when Conservatives have no power on the National Stage anymore, and are re-trenching.

    These deluded Sheriffs are trying to Nullify laws they don’t like.

    Which is ironic, because that’s the behavior the RW claims the President is guilty of.

    Obama prioritized arresting potentially criminal undocumented immigrants and deporting them, and put the people brought to America as children and raised here at the end of the list.

    As a consequence, Obama has deported two million illegals and the ICE holding cells are JAMMED.

    But the RW needed something to complain about, so…

    Now these “Sheriffs” are proposing to outright DEFY Federal Law.

    If a law is passed saying private gun sales have to be registered at your local Sheriff’s office or at a registered gun dealer, the Sheriffs will just refuse to enforce the law.

    And I’m sure they won’t understand why this is wrong.