Standing up against the feds

To the editor:

In 1994, the Brady Bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. This law literally forced each sheriff to become a pawn for the federal government. Even more astounding was the fact that no funds were allocated to the sheriffs to do this work. And the Brady Bill contained a provision to arrest any sheriff who failed to comply.

So here’s the U.S. Congress making an unconstitutional gun control law, requiring a county official to enforce it and pay for it, and then threatening to arrest him if he refuses.

Sheriff Richard Mack, who, at the time, was sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., was the first sheriff in the nation to file a lawsuit to stop the Brady Bill and to end this nonsense and abuse. As the case proceeded, six other sheriffs from around the country joined the lawsuit. Mack and Sheriff Jay Printz from Montana ended up at the U.S. Supreme Court together on Dec. 4, 1996. On June 27, 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the Brady Bill was, in fact, unconstitutional and that the federal government could not commandeer state or county officers for federal bidding.

This was more than monumental. Federal agencies could no longer do whatever they damn well pleased. The ruling stated at least three times that the states were not subject to federal direction. More important, the case proved that local officials have the right, the power and the duty to stand against the far reaching incursions by our own federal government. In the ruling Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the majority, stating, “The federal government may not compel the states to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program.” They can’t compel the states, or the counties, or local officials to comply with their regulations. (Yes, the states can still go along voluntarily, and far too often, that is exactly what happens.) But freedom won on June 27, 1997, and it started the snowball rolling for each sheriff in this country to stand tall and to protect his or her constituents from “all enemies both foreign and domestic.”

This is the ultimate check and balance and it falls squarely on the shoulders of the county sheriff. The sheriff and the police are indeed the last line of defense between the people and the criminals, both from the streets and from the federal government. If we are to get America back, if we are indeed to return to the constitutional Republic we were meant to be, then it will be up to the sheriffs of America, and hopefully other local officials, as well, who have the guts and dedication to tell the feds that we will no longer tolerate their intervention, control, meddling, mandates or criminal behavior. Sheriffs have the authority, the power, and the duty to be the ultimate check and balance for the American citizenry in their county and to defend them against all local and federal criminals.

Robert Yost