This article first appeared at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 27, 2014:
In an exclusive interview with The New American, retired Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack, founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), highlighted the successes that members of his organization are having in resisting unconstitutional challenges by the federal government and declared that with these successes, “We are taking back America one county at a time!”
It’s not just rhetoric. CSPOA members have pledged to keep their word to uphold, defend, protect, preserve, and obey the U.S. Constitution. And they are doing just that.
Sheriff Tony Desmond of Schoharie County, New York, put it simply: “If you have an assault weapon which under the state’s [new] SAFE act is considered illegal, I don’t look at it as being illegal just because someone says it is.”
Sheriff John Cook of Weld County, Colorado — one of nine sheriffs who sued the state of Colorado over its draconian gun control laws passed last summer — declared, “It’s not [legislators’] job to tell me what I can and can’t enforce. I’m still the one who has to say, ‘Where do I put my priorities and resources?’ And it’s not going to be there [enforcing gun control laws].”
Another organization, Oath Keepers, comprised of current or former members of the military or law enforcement, has committed to following the constitutional position explained by Franklin Shook, a member of that group’s board of directors:
What Oath Keepers is saying [to its members] is: when you get an order to go to somebody’s house and collect one of these illegal guns, just stand down.
Say peacefully: “I refuse to carry out an unlawful order,” and we… will do everything in our power to keep public pressure on your side to keep you from getting in trouble for standing down.
That makes Oath Keepers extremely dangerous to the system.
When asked if sheriffs are walking the walk and not just talking the talk, Mack replied that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of examples of sheriffs doing precisely that.
There is Grant County, Oregon Sheriff Glenn Palmer, who sent a letter on March 31, 2011 to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) refusing their demand that he sign a “cooperative policing agreement” whereby USFS officials would assume police powers in his county:
I’m advising you in writing that I will not be signing the agreement. I do not believe that it is in the best interest of the people I serve or the Grant County Sheriff’s office to continue with the agreement…
Under Article 1 Section 8 of the United States Constitution, the federal government is limited in its powers and authority. Your jurisdiction as I see it is limited in nature to the Federal Building in [the city of] John Day.
Within the confines of Grant County, Oregon, the duties and responsibilities of law enforcement will rest with the County Sheriff and his designees.
To date, that policing agreement remains inoperative in Grant County, Oregon.
There’s Sheriff Tony DeMeo of Nye County, Nevada. Before he took office, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), an agency of the Department of the Interior, seized some of Nye Count resident Wayne Hage’s cattle from his ranch using armed federal agents. When DeMeo was elected sheriff, he told his deputies that cattle seizures by federal agents were prohibited and that any federal agents attempting to confiscate cattle in the future would be arrested. Shortly thereafter BLM agents arrived at Hage’s ranch, whereupon one of DeMeo’s deputies informed them that there would be no seizure of any of Hage’s cattle.
DeMeo based his decision based on the Constitution. The deputy was told that BLM federal agents would arrest the sheriff and use armed force to take Hage’s cattle. Sheriff DeMeo advised the federal agents that their SWAT team would be faced with DeMeo’s SWAT team if they proceeded. DeMeo explained that his deputies were empowered to refuse unlawful orders if the orders violated the U.S. Constitution, the Nevada state constitution, local laws, or policies.
The armed confrontation threatened by the federal agents never materialized.
DeMeo added that while Nevada is more than 90 percent federally managed, those public lands are actually owned by the people, and the federal government is limited in its authority under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
Then there’s Elkhart, Nevada County Sheriff Brad Rogers, who traveled to Bunkerville in April to prod the local sheriff there to intercede in the showdown between Cliven Bundy and agents from the BLM. The confrontation was defused with the departure of the BLM agents. Following that stand down, DeMeo wrote, “I will continue to fight against tyranny at all levels, and for all people (including liberals) and will be the proactive Constitutional Sheriff most Elkhart County citizens expect.”
As the interview with Sheriff Mack drew to a close, he emphasized that in every case in which a constitutional sheriff or peace officer had challenged federal authorities, the federal authorities had stood down. He could not think of a single instance in which any member of either CSPOA or Oath Keepers was forced to stand down in the face of unconstitutional federal pressure.
As sheriffs and peace officers continue to increase their numbers and influence across the country, they are indeed taking back America one county at a time.