Friday, February 15, 2013

Guest opinion the media wouldn't print

Idaho Sheriffs are Running to Their Clubhouse

Guest Editorial, G. Scott Swearingen

In Oregon, Linn County Sheriff Tim Mueller sent a letter of opposition to the White House.
In Wyoming, HB0104 Firearms Protection Act is moving steadily through the Statehouse.
In between the two, Idaho sheriffs are running to their clubhouse.

In the face of President Obama’s rhetoric, southeast Washington and north central Idaho sheriffs declared their support for the second amendment. They promised support of the Second Amendment similar to that shown by Sheriff Mueller of Linn Co. Oregon among others nationwide. One local Idaho sheriff even stated he would make a motion at the next Idaho Sheriffs’ Association (ISA) meeting to show that support. Instead, the Club crawfished on its bet.

Mike Kane, the paid lobbyist for the ISA said on January 23, that they would take a measured and thoughtful position. He said, “We aren't going to bring legislation to restrict concealed weapons or that restrict the right to open carry. These are constitutional rights.”

But on February 5, the ISA, funded by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), put forth the “Idaho Sheriffs’ Association Position on Gun Rights.” In actuality, their position is that of the National Sheriffs’ Association, word for word. It is a full typewritten page of “whereas” and “therefore(s)” that resolves to enforce whatever laws are passed, by whomever, constitutional or not.

This position of the ISA is not nearly as clear as Linn County, Oregon Sheriff Tim Mueller’s letter to Vice President Biden. Mueller tells the White House,

“Any federal regulation enacted by Congress or by executive order of the President offending the constitutional rights of my citizens shall not be enforced by me or by my deputies, nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Linn County Oregon.”

Mueller’s words, much stronger than those chosen by the sheriffs’ associations, were echoed by sheriffs around the country.

The ISA’s Those weakly chosen words led the Idaho Statesman to run a headline stating, “Idaho sheriffs agree to support gun laws.” The article described the position paper accurately, but reaction to it surprised the ISA.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney, who heads the statewide association, told the Statesman that their coverage of the Idaho Sheriffs Association position on gun legislation misstated the sheriffs’ position.

Did the Statesman’s coverage really misstate the ISA’s position? In short, no. If anybody misstated the ISA’s position, it was the sheriff’s themselves. Still, I don’t think they are misstated. The club is just acting politically.

It is after all, the same club who has proposed legislation for the clear purpose of embedding themselves in their own positions. I speak of legislation that would require deputies to quit their jobs before challenging their bosses in an election. Then they thought that only POST certified officers should be able to challenge them, taking the citizen sheriff out of the competition.

Most recently, a felon had the audacity to run for sheriff in northern Idaho. So enter the ISA, to propose an amendment to the Idaho Constitution banning felons. They don’t want competition from a felon. Politicians don’t like competition, especially from another professional.

They use our tax dollars, from county treasuries, from the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency and from private donations and memberships to fund their club and keep citizens out.

The club is trying to sneak this past us, hoping not to endanger their relationship with their golden goose, the DEA. I urge you not to let them. Insist they stand up for your Second Amendment Rights like so many other sheriffs around the country are doing.

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