As sure as an election approaches, you can count on Republicans to trot out meaningless issues to try to excite their base.
At the State House, GOPers propose a steady stream of unconstitutional anti-choice laws – without promising to commit their salaries and personal fortunes to defending them in court when they are invariably challenged.
But, the locals can play this game of political posturing as well. Last week Logan County Sheriff Damon Devereaux declared his county a gun sanctuary. He “promised his citizens to enforce the right to bear arms, rather than any laws that would infringe on it,” according to KFOR-TV.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney followed suit the next day.
McKinney’s official statement includes: “Let it be known that the Stephens County Sheriff hereby expresses his intent that no public funds will be used in any manner to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Stephens County, or to aid federal, state, or any municipal agencies in the restriction of said rights….”
What a powerful statement of bunkum and self-incrimination.
Let’s start with the obvious fact that there exists not one threat to the Second Amendment in this open-carry state or the country. It would take 38 states to amend the Second Amendment. Realistically, you’d be hard-pressed to find a dozen states supporting any Constitutional change. Look at a map.
Sheriff McKinney’s insists “that no public funds will be used in any manner to restrict the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Stephens County.” Yet, when I enter the Stephens County Courthouse, two of his deputies – paid with public funds – are staffing a metal detector, setting a limit on citizens’ rights to bear arms.
Courthouse officials have decided that having folks wander in wearing bandoleer ammunition belts strapped across their chests to form a St. Andrews Cross, holding a carbine in the crook of an arm and with a Colt on one hip and a Bowie knife on the other is not conducive to public safety.
Seems reasonable to me, too. (Even the Wild West had gun-free zones. The Gunfight near the OK Corral was precipitated by illegal gun-toting.) But, deputies operating metal detectors contradicts the sheriff’s political palaver.
The sheriffs enter shakier ground when they promise not to enforce any laws with which they disagree.
We have legislators to write laws, courts to interpret them and lawmen to enforce them. A lawman choosing which laws to enforce would be violating his oath of office. Justice is served when we can count on all laws being equally enforced.
Which gets us back to the publicly-paid deputies staffing the metal detector. On my trips to the courthouse, I go through the metal detector, even removing my belt to make sure that the buckle doesn’t include one of those hidden frog-stabbers.
Invariably, while I’m going through this – very reasonable – screening process, some guy in a suit will stroll in carrying a briefcase large enough to hold a brace of dueling pistols and get waved on into the building.
Well, I think only one Oklahoma lawyer is currently on the wrong end of a murder charge. And the folks we know are the folks we know – until we don’t know what happened.
I have finally quit reminding the deputies that many of the lawmen in the basement of Dallas police headquarters knew Jack Ruby when he pulled out a gun and shot Lee Harvey Oswald. One even called out his name.
So, we already have selective enforcement of a law. It applies to some, but not to a favored few. I guess arbitrarily deciding which laws to enforce is the next illogical step.
But, this is truly a non-issue in open-carry Oklahoma. Just political puff and nonsense.
The issue arose in Virginia, where Gov. Ralph Northam tried and failed to get a ban on the sale of assault weapons and a ban on magazines holding more than 12 rounds.
Before the Virginia Senate tabled those measures Monday, Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins had pledged to skirt any gun law he didn’t like by deputizing anyone in the county to allow them to keep their high-powered weaponry.
He told the BBC, “”My statement was simply that I would choose to swear in hundreds or even thousands of our citizens as deputy sheriffs if need be, to allow them to possess weapons and push back on that overreach by our government.”
Well, of course, nothing speaks more to public safety than thousands of untrained, highly-armed people with persecution complexes riding around with badges ready to prove their need to go heeled.
“Rally ‘round the rhetoric.” No one is coming for our guns.
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)