Sheriffs in stand-off over Second Amendment bill

BY Herschel Smith
1 year, 5 months ago

A Stand-off it is, in Wyoming.

SUNDANCE — All 23 of Wyoming’s sheriffs have registered alarm at the damage a bill under consideration by the Legislature could do to policing in this state. Though the Second Amendment Preservation Act (House Bill 124/Senate File 81) is intended to be pro-Second Amendment, says Crook County Sheriff Jeff Hodge, its implications are strongly anti-law enforcement.

“It’s not intended to be anti-law enforcement, but it is,” he says. “The intention was good but they need to talk to peace officers and prosecutors.”

If this legislation is passed, the sheriff says, it could turn an ordinary arrest into a career-ending decision for a peace officer. While it does little to protect the average citizen and removes a protection that peace officers rely on, he says it only provides protection for one particular group: criminals.

The intent of the Second Amendment Preservation Act is to prevent firearms from being confiscated by federal entities due to federal laws that may be passed in the future, and it does this by holding state law enforcement officers accountable. However, while the sheriffs may have no issue with this as a concept, they feel the wording is extremely flawed.

The first section of concern states that no person, including a peace officer, shall have the authority to enforce any federal law or ordinance that infringes on a person’s right to keep and bear arms. Anyone who knowingly violates this or knowingly deprives a resident of Wyoming of their Second Amendment rights shall be liable for this action.

The second concerning section states that anyone who does so shall be “permanently ineligible to serve as a law enforcement officer” and immediately terminated from their position. The bill removes “qualified immunity,” a legal principle by which an officer is immune from civil suits unless the plaintiff can show they violated statutory or constitutional rights a reasonable person would have known.

According to Hodge, Wyoming’s sheriffs were not consulted about this wording. Those involved in law enforcement on the ground could quickly have explained the problematic implications.

In a real-life situation where a crime has been committed, Hodge explains that a peace officer may seize a firearm, as evidence or to prevent further harm from being inflicted, for example. However, if the case becomes federal and the gun owner is ultimately not convicted of any crime and thus remains a law-abiding citizen, that decision would lead to the officer losing his job.

What a shame the cops weren’t “consulted.”

And the excuse is just rubbish.  It simply requires that police arrest criminals guilty of violation of state laws, not federal firearms laws.  In other words, state and local police cannot enforce federal firearms laws.

In my opinion this is still weak tea.  They should be ordered to arrest agents of the federal government trying to enforce federal firearms laws, but that’s not in the bill.

It should be easy enough to seize the firearms of people guilty of murder, or kidnapping, or rape, or robbery, or violation of any state law, while also refraining from arrests of people guilty of having 14.5″ barrels with stocks on their guns.

This all comes down to one thing: the Sheriff departments want to enforce federal firearms laws.  It’s that simple, and if you think not, explain in full detail how this assessment is wrong.  Do your homework.  You’ll be graded.


  1. On March 5, 2021 at 7:06 am, Matt said:

    I agree that they want to enforce federal gun infringements. No doubt. How often has a cop group or union ever been in favor of 2A rights, beyond giving it lip service.

    Yet, I suspect that the qualified immunity being stripped is a bigger issue to them. It’s the excuse that many cops hide behind when they act like little tyrants. The fact that they can go around and commit all sorts of crimes including assault with a deadly weapon and even murder and then get away with it claiming they thought they were legal is absolute BS, but it happens every day.

    Start holding them accountable for their actions and you’ll see their ranks thin real fast.

  2. On March 5, 2021 at 7:47 am, SheepDog said:

    Check your facts. Only federal LEO’s can enforce federal laws or arrest a person for violation of a federal law.

  3. On March 5, 2021 at 9:02 am, ragman said:

    No mystery here. The sheriffs work for the people, not the other way around. If they can’t comply with laws passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor they should find something else to do.

  4. On March 5, 2021 at 9:30 am, Frank Clarke said:

    @Matt got it right.

    “…unless the plaintiff can show they violated statutory or constitutional rights a reasonable person would have known.”

    That’s not what “qualified immunity” is. QI is “…unless the plaintiff can show they violated statutory or constitutional rights __established by judicial precedent__.” There’s a difference.

  5. On March 5, 2021 at 9:40 am, Herschel Smith said:


    It’s more complicated than you’re making out.

    It’s a mixed bag in Wyoming, who won’t enforce FedGov tobacco age limits.

    But prohibition was an example of state and local enforcement of FedGov laws. There are also hundreds of FedGov statutes that explicitly authorize state enforcement.

    There is also this.,in%20state%20or%20federal%20court

    And every time a local LEO arrests a “fugitive from justice” because of violation of a FedGov law, they are enforcing FedGov law. That has precise application to firearms regulations and laws.

  6. On March 5, 2021 at 12:55 pm, Red Man said:

    Never have I heard any chief or sheriff condone anything that they feel competes with their monopoly of force. As Herchel points out, their panties are all wadded up that they weren’t consulted. Well neither was I. But of course they always talk of respecting the second amendment. When concealed carry was being debated in my state, of course they spoke of blood flowing freely in the streets. We know that did not happen.

  7. On March 5, 2021 at 1:48 pm, scott s. said:

    It goes back to the “personal liberty” laws enacted in several northern states prior to the civil war. These laws prohibited state assistance with the fugitive slave law. Southern states claimed that all states had a sacred duty to return slaves to their masters and used these laws as a basis for secession.

  8. On March 5, 2021 at 8:12 pm, SheepDog said:

    Warrants are not law. They are court orders issued by a judge REQUIRING an LEO to arrest the named individual if/when found. Magistrates are not LEO’s. They are judges.
    I won’t argue the point here, but I will stand by my original comment.

  9. On March 5, 2021 at 8:29 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Your point is a difference without a distinction. Regardless of who issues a warrant for an arrest, or who makes an arrest on the spot for some sort of probable cause (e.g., a person gets denied for purchase of a firearm at an FFL because he is a “fugitive from justice” according to some trumped up fed charge for doing a person-to-person transfer in a future or current FedGov admin that has passed UBC), the bill is clear. Local LEOs cannot arrest for violations of federal law under the bill.

    I see nothing unclear in the bill, and so unless LEOs want to perform such arrests, it makes no sense to oppose it.

    And now that I ponder on it, I’ve given the perfect situation. Somebody does a person to person transfer with UBC being FedGov law, and thereby becomes a fugitive from justice because his divorced wife turns him in. Local LEOs should not only NOT conduct an arrest, they should prevent FedGov agents from conducting said arrest.

  10. On March 5, 2021 at 9:19 pm, George 1 said:

    I would add that IMHO local LEOs should not only never arrest for federal firearms violations they should not arrest for many federal crimes.

    Recently government officials have said that people who, among other thought crimes, believe that the election was fraudulent and that Joe Biden did not legitimately win are domestic terrorists. Many in Washington are calling for a war against dissidents, that is those who disagree with the cabal. It is being seriously suggested that the government use their overseas COIN operations as a model for a war against half the country.

    States that are still sane should begin to distance themselves from all of the federal enforcement apparatus.

  11. On March 8, 2021 at 12:11 am, X said:

    The problem is that good cops will always side with dirty cops before an innocent citizen. Cops work together across agencies because they’re loyal to other cops. Period.

    That’s how it worked in Nazi Germany. Most cops in the Ordnungspolizei — the Oder Police — were basic street cops breaking up drunken brawls and stuff like that. But if they ran across a guy who had a warrant out for his arrest from the Gestapo, or a Jew who had a deportation order, they were going to detain him and hand him over. They had no idea what was going to happen to the suspect next. Whatever happened later was up the chain of command from them, usually in a different agency.

    Same thing here. Deputy Bubba had got a lip full of Skoal and is bored out of his mind on the night shift in Podunkville, but if he lights up some guy who just rolled through a stop sign and his computer says the motorist has a warrant from the FBI or DHS, Deputy Bubba is going to cuff him “and goin’ be a gen-you-wine ‘Murican hee-ro fer catchin’ a terr-rist!”

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This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published March 5th, 2021 by Herschel Smith.

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