A letter to President Barack Obama from the Utah Sheriffs’ Association asserting that local lawmen won’t allow federal agents to seize restricted guns from residents is gaining political steam.
State Rep. Brian Greene has proposed legislation giving Utah sheriffs the power to arrest federal agents who attempt to seize firearms from citizens.
“After the Connecticut school shooting, I saw a frenzy erupt in Washington, D.C. President Obama seems determined to never let a tragedy go to waste,” Greene told The New American
“The federal government has steamrolled state sovereignty on this and many other issues,” Greene said. “It’s incumbent on states to take action and uphold the Constitution and the rights of citizens.”
Greene’s “Utah State Supremacy Firearm Act’’ would restore state sovereignty protected by the Constitution.
But just what laws sheriffs are required to uphold is a sticky issue that could have national implications.
Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah and a former federal judge, told the Salt Lake Tribune that legally, a sheriff does not have to enforce any federal law.
“They have the right to decide what [takes priority in] their respective counties,” Cassell said.
But he added at the same time, sheriffs cannot obstruct federal law enforcement.
In its letter to Obama, the sheriff’s association said they would not allow any federal official to “descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights — in particular Amendment II — has given them.”
Similar statements by sheriffs from across the country have also been made in recent days, according to the New American.
The letter came as Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced legislation to help curb gun violence along with 23 executive actions the White House can invoke without approval of Congress.
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