Friday, May 3, 2013

Indiana Sheriff Vows to Not Enforce Future Gun Laws

Sheriff Bradley Rogers
Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers is no stranger to media attention.  Since his campaign, he has not been scared to speak out loud about his position on laws and their constitutionality.  

That attention is surrounding him again.  On Sunday, Sheriff Rogers told a crowd in South Bend that he refuses to enforce any further gun legislation handed down by the federal government.   This position is not new for Sheriff Rogers, nor is it new for him to discuss it (he's been on CNN talking with Anderson Cooper about his views).  Nonetheless, the media, including this Indy Star article, has grabbed the story and pounced on it.

It's an interesting question....where does a sheriff's loyalties lie?  Is he to blindly enforce any laws that are passed?  Is that his duty?  Can a sheriff prioritize the laws he enforces based on the resources he has available?  Or, as Sheriff Rogers indicates, does his oath of office to uphold the constitution mean that if he finds a law unconstitutional that he is not obligated to enforce it?

Surely a sheriff can not be required to blindly pursue each and every law that is passed.  The reason is resources.  No sheriff has unlimited resources.  Every sheriff is forced to create a budget based on the resources available to them, and thus be forced to prioritize what areas they will focus their enforcement on.  That makes perfect sense.

But where does prioritizing enforcement potentially turn into abandonment of enforcing a law at all?  And is a sheriff that believes a law to be unconstitutional required to not enforce it based upon their oath to defend the constitution?

Myself, Miah Akston, and Sheriff Rogers
These are not easy questions to answer.  Especially as nullification becomes a more common part of society, with states readily nullifying federal laws right now, it becomes harder to answer, and also more controversial.

Personally, I applaud Sheriff Rogers.  He is still confined by a system of checks and balances.  If his community does not support the actions of this first term sheriff, they will guarantee that he never has a second term of office.  As long as those checks and balances are in place, then the sheriff's oath to uphold the constitution comes first and foremost.

Sheriff Rogers recently spoke at the Libertarian Party of Indiana's State Convention.  Although I do not have audio of the excellent speech he gave, Miah Akston and I were lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview him for our show on, The Uncontrollables.  Here's that interview.  It runs about 21 minutes.

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