County Sheriff Says He’ll Enforce State Statute Not Federal Mandates
Our nation is built on the principle of a decentralized form of civil government. It’s not “The United States of America is” but “The United States of America are.” The plural is very important and identifies the relationship between the states and the national government.
The states created the national government. The national government is the creature, the states the creator. The true derivation of authority and power that the national government has comes from the states and the people of those states. That’s why the U.S. Constitution begins with “We the People.” It’s not the people as individuals, but the people in their several states. This is made clear by the wording of the Tenth Amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The increasing power grab of the Federal Government and the opposition’s party failure to step in to neutralize that power and in some cases to embrace it has left only one alternative available to states and counties: The doctrine of interposition: a lesser magistrate interposing itself between the unconstitutional directives of the greater magistrate to protect the people of the lesser governmental entity.
A Pine County (Minnesota) sheriff is responding to the Second Amendment to the Constitution about the right to keep and bear firearms. Sheriff Robert K. Coles’ wrote the following open letter that was published by the Northlands News Center:
An Open Letter to the Citizens of Pine County:
As Sheriff of Pine County, it is important for residents to know my position as it relates to the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In the past week I have had several requests and one meeting on this matter. Normally I attempt to remain neutral on matters of politics but this issue transcends political division and I feel it appropriate to state my position.
I believe that the right to keep and bear firearms is fundamental to our individual freedom and that firearms are a part of life in our county. The Federal Government has a constitutional role in the governance of our republic but the United States of America is a democratic republic of individual sovereign states. Each state has the absolute right to establish laws, within the confines of the constitution which is the supreme law of this republic, to regulate behavior.
As Sheriff, I swore an oath to follow the Constitution of the United States and to enforce the laws of the State of Minnesota. I believe current state law is sufficient to protect the public safety while providing individuals the right to keep and bear arms.
If the State of Minnesota desires to change current law, then it must do so through the legitimate process of legislation. In my opinion it is a moral sin to erode freedom through obscure regulation and administrative rules. I believe this is also true for both State and Federal Government.
I do not believe the Federal Government or any individual in the Federal Government has the right to dictate to the states, counties or municipalities any mandate, regulation or administrative rule that violates the United States Constitution or it various amendments. I would view any such mandate, regulation or administrative rule illegal and refuse to carry it out.
Robin K. Cole
Pine County Sheriff