A nationwide sheriffs' coalition is asking Vermont law enforcement officers to take a stand against the state's recently approved gun control measures.
Richard Mack, president of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, told Vermont sheriffs that they should defy the March 4 Burlington voter initiative to ban the carry of firearms in bars and restaurants, Watchdog.org reports. The law also allows police to confiscate guns during domestic disputes and requires gun owners to lock up their firearms at home.
"Sheriffs have a constitutional duty to refuse to comply with such ordinances," said Mack. "We're seeing sheriffs in New York oppose the Safe Act and Gov. Cuomo. If we have sheriffs in New York doing this, how much more should we have sheriffs doing it in Vermont?"
The organization claims that 17 police associations and 500 sheriffs across the nation have stated their pledge to refuse to enforce gun control laws that violate the Second Amendment. The CSPOA keeps a running list on its website of sheriffs that have openly defied gun control laws in their states.
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"It's astonishing that people are so cavalier about violating the Second Amendment," Mack said. "Burlington City Council sounds like they are just following the trend to do things that are entirely unconstitutional and go around sheriffs, and go around the laws, or subvert the laws, or disobey the laws."
The Burlington Legislature still needs to approve the measure, which is expected to meet with resistance from some lawmakers who say it violates state laws.
Sheriffs in states like Colorado and California have also openly resisted enforcing gun control laws, arguing that the laws violate citizens’ constitutional rights and that lawmakers don’t understand the place of guns in their lives, particularly for gun owners in rural regions.