Just the Facts
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Defending the Second Amendment

I have been asked by many constituents about my position regarding the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, specifically with regard to my position as your Sheriff and defending those rights. I cannot respond to every inquiry, so I hope this paper will define my position. There are several key points to consider including our absolute right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment, the compromise of managing that right as well as the enforcement of state laws.

Simply put, I cannot and will not compromise my rights afforded me and others under the Constitution of the United States, particularly the Second Amendment. The starting point and ending point of our position should be that the rights of law abiding citizens to "keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed". That last phrase, carefully crafted by the Founding Fathers, makes this right absolute. Nothing further should be discussed. No compromise should be considered.

Since the founding of our country, millions of Americans have shed blood and died protecting these basic tenets of our rights. Thomas Jefferson said, "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty". To chip away at the Second Amendment, the cornerstone of our safety and freedom, will only cause the remaining pillars to crumble, along with our nation as we know it.

When I took my oath of office, the most critical part of that oath was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Colorado, not be part of destroying them. I believe that I have supported and defended them with honor and intend to do so in the future. On the other hand, I do not "enforce" the Constitution, i.e. I can't arrest someone for violating a Constitutional principle, but rather for violating a specific law. However, make no mistake that I support it and will defend it!

As a Sheriff, I have many statutory responsibilities that are outlined and delegated by State statute. Further, the laws I enforce are enumerated in State statute, enacted by the Colorado Legislature and I must enforce these statutes as required. However, I can and will oppose any attempt to create laws through the legislative process that that I believe infringe on our Constitutional rights. Hopefully, individually and collectively our voices will be heard by those who represent us in the Legislature.

There was a time when I supported data bases and background checks, but now, convinced that they will not prevent evil people from being evil, I oppose ANY government intervention into the rights of law abiding citizens. As a law enforcement official, I know that criminals will not comply with these requirements. If gang-banger #1 wants to buy a gun from gang-banger #2, he will not first seek a background check. He's a criminal and does not abide by the law. Even if he did clear a background check, how will this process prevent him from shooting up a school, a mall, or a rival gang? It won't. Nor will it prevent other evil people from doing heinous things to society. Some of our most notorious serial killers never used a gun, yet they were responsible for killing hundreds of people. Therefore background checks and data bases serve no purpose other than creating a way to take honest, law-abiding citizens and turn them into criminals if they don't comply. I certainly do not believe that the reason for these lists is to confiscate my legally owned property ( although there are many citizens who do), so given what we know about such lists, there is no rationale to support creating or maintaining them.

Additionally, my right to own a so-called "assault weapon" (even though nobody can define what that is), or any other legal weapon, or component, for whatever legal reason I chose is nobody's business, especially the government's. It is my right under the Constitution and the discussion should end there. If you don't want to own a gun, don't. But do not attempt to force your opinion on me.

Finally, the intentional degradation of the Second Amendment, for some radical factions, is NOT about safety or guns, or protecting lives, but about eliminating our rights and controlling the population. I have no doubt that success with eliminating the Second Amendment will only fuel the fire of such radicals to eliminate the remaining ones.

I certainly support further discussion and debate regarding school safety programs, mental illness, severe penalties for criminals, and other measures that will strengthen our personal security and reduce gun crimes. I'm fairly certain that's what our Constitution is all about. However, I cannot in good conscience disregard those that fought and died for these rights, nor the oath I took to defend them.


Lou Vallario
Sheriff, Garfield County

01/22/13