Lately, as the gun control “discussion” continues, the liberal politicians resort to their age old tactic when discussing “public safety” matters, which in this case includes limiting your constitutional rights. The specific tactic which I am referring to here is their trotting out a series of Police Chiefs to tell the American people what Law Enforcement thinks. While this tactic may play well with their liberal constituency, it breeds distrust of the cops in those on the opposite side of the subject. The purpose of this article is to try and dissuade the fears of you, the law abiding, 2nd Amendment protecting, gun owners of America. I have seen many a comment by folks who are justly concerned about the erosion of their right to bear arms; comments evoking both a fear and loathing of law enforcement for the role the commenter perceives law enforcement might play in enforcing new gun control measures.
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Let me quickly dispel any thoughts you may have that the average working cop is coming for your guns. You should not remotely consider that Police Chiefs (and I mean specifically Police Chiefs, not Sheriffs) speak for those whom they command. They most certainly do not! Police Chiefs are politically appointed administrators who, for fear of losing their cushy jobs, toe the line of the of the city officials who appointed them. Those people who work under the police chief have absolutely no say in the chief’s selection, and more often than not, the chief and those who work under him/her are often at odds over many things, including how to run the day to day operations of the department.
Line level law enforcement, the actual people on the streets, those who deal with the results of crime on a daily basis, those who would actually be tasked with any gun ban enforcement, are overwhelmingly strong supporters of the average citizen’s rights to firearms and to self-protection. I do not make that statement off the cuff; in fact I will now offer evidence to back that statement.
I work for a metropolitan department that has approximately 1800 sworn officers. In my 16+ year career on that department, I can count on one hand the number of coworkers who have ever been in favor of stricter gun control laws. I have many friends in law enforcement, on various departments, and their experience is the same on their departments, several of which are police departments. In fact, last night I had a long phone conversation with an person who is not only a ranking administrator for a local agency, but he is also the owner of a firearms accessory manufacturing company, and he echoed the same thoughts. However, since all that is just my personal anecdotal evidence; let me offer more significant evidence.
To lend a little credibility to my claim that line-level cops are supportive of gun rights, I offer a survey conducted by POLICE Magazine in which they concluded “More than 88 percent of a diverse population of American law enforcement officers who read POLICE Magazine gave a thumbs up to the Second Amendment of the Constitution.” That survey is not the only one conducted of cops which showed overwhelming support for citizen’s rights to guns. Noted gun rights supporter and author, John Lott documents several surveys with similar results here.
Paul Howe, former Delta operator involved in the event that the movie “Blackhawk Down” made famous, and renowned firearms training expert for both military, law enforcement and civilians, recently penned an article in which he discusses his impression of the overwhelming attitude of the cops he has trained. He says: “Local Police and Sheriff Departments are the backbone of who protects American Citizens. A Sheriff or Chief of Police would have to give the order for his people to begin to seize weapons. Their people would either comply or see it as an illegal order and refuse.” Howe discusses the whole scenario much more in depth in that article which you can find here.
Quite the opposite of the Police Chief, the office of Sheriff is an elected office, and while actual law enforcement experience is not necessary to hold the office, the public would be hard pressed to elect someone as the head law enforcement official for the county unless he/she had experience. As an elected official, the Sheriff more closely represents the attitude of those residing in his area of responsibility. Additionally, the Sheriff and can be held more accountable to those under his command because without the support of his employees, the Sheriff would be hard pressed to get reelected.
Consider the stance of the National Sheriffs’ Association: “(the) National Sheriffs’ Association supports the rights conferred by the Second Amendment and further recognizes the ultimate authority of the courts in interpreting the scope of those constitutional rights.” You can find their public statement on the topic here.
Consider the stance of the Utah State Sheriffs’ Association: “as the duly-elected sheriffs of our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights—in particular Amendment II—has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.” Their entire letter to President Obama can be found here.
Consider the number of Sheriffs nationwide, and even now including some Police Chiefs, who have publicly stated their opposition to new gun control measures or infringements of the 2nd Amendment. The list currently includes 317 individual Sheriffs, 1 Police Chief and 12 State Sheriffs Associations. That list can be found here.
Finally, consider the opinion of Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who served for 17 years. He was recently asked to participate in a discussion on gun control on a local news broadcast. During the conversation, the subject of police chiefs comes up, and Bongino slams them, rightfully so. Watch the video:
While I am greatly concerned about the rapidly expanding erosion of our constitutionally guaranteed rights, not the least of which is the right to bear arms, I do not fear local law enforcement attempting to do anything in violation of the 2nd Amendment, nor should you. If push ever came to shove, I think you would be pleasantly surprised how many cops would be on your side.