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Garrison Won't Enforce Any New Laws That "Negate" Constitutional Rights

Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison joins other sheriffs across the country in heavily criticizing President Barack Obama's executive orders tightening gun restrictions.

Editor's note: the following is an opinion written by Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison. It does not in any way reflect the views and opinions of Patch. 

In the aftermath of the recent criminal events, the president, vice-president and many members of Congress are attempting to exploit the deaths of innocent victims by attempting to enact laws, restrictions; and, even through use of executive orders, prevent law-abiding American citizens from possessing certain firearms and ammunition magazines. 

As the duly-elected sheriff of Cherokee County, I want you to know and understand my position on this issue. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

In Georgia, as in most states, sheriffs are elected constitutional officers.  Duly elected sheriffs are held accountable by no one other than the electorate of their respective counties.

There is only one exception, in those extreme emergencies during which the governor of the state of Georgia issues a written declaration of emergency.

With this in mind, no one other than the governor in a declared state of emergency can tell the county sheriff what to do or command their deputies and personnel into action.

We are empowered to enforce all state laws and have NO authority or duty to enforce any federal law or mandate.

The President and/or any other federal official has no authority to order the County Sheriff to do anything. This interpretation is not new. It has been the law of the land since these United States of America came into existence.

On December 27, 2012, my oath of office was administered by our Probate Judge (Keith Wood), with the final sentence stating, ". . . and that I will support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, so help me God." 

Therefore, I will fully exercise the power of the Office of Sheriff to protect and defend the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County. My position is best stated by fellow Sheriff Tim Muller of Linn County, Oregon in his letter to the President. "We are Americans. We must not allow, nor shall we tolerate, the actions of criminals, no matter how heinous the crimes, to prompt politicians to enact laws that will infringe upon the liberties of responsible citizens who have broken no laws."

Along with Sheriff Muller, other sheriffs throughout the country (including Georgia) and I, will not enforce any laws or regulations that negate the constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County.

Nor shall those laws and regulations 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 Cherokee County, Georgia.

What do you think of the sheriff's position? Tell us in the comments! 

Frank Jones January 22, 2013 at 01:03 AM
The 2nd amendment is NOT under attack. Everyone on this site congratulating Sheriff Garrison for defending our rights is, for lack of better word, an idiot. We live in a society and culture that embraces guns. The President cannot ban guns--he isn't a monarch. Neither the House nor Senate will ban all guns, and even if they did, the president probably wouldn't sign the ban. The only thing that is up for discussion is whether there should be unlimited access to unlimited fire power. Reasonable people would agree to discuss this after 20+ people, mainly children were gunned down by a high-power, military-style, assault weapon. But no, any discussion is a threat to the constitution. You're not reasonable. Reasonable people would look at the extent of gun violence and ask questions such as, "Are there too many guns?", "Are the laws for buying guns too loose?", Are there reasonable safe-guard that could be implemented?", and more...But no, the NRA is up in arms. I'll grant you that guns do kill people and people kill people. However, killing with a gun is much easier than doing so with a knife, hammer, or fist. And with a knife, hammer or fist, there is greater opportunity for a victim or bystander to defend themselves. Magazine size does matter! With a smaller magazine, a kiler would have to re-load more often and provide a small window of opportunity for people to defend themselves. Garrison is embarrassment.
Tony Roland January 22, 2013 at 01:32 AM
I appreciate Rodger Garrison taking the stand on the laws of Georgia and the Second amendment. I have read many post below and am surprised at the lack of knowledge. I can only guess that a lot of the negative responses come from some other places. 1) From a person very young and with no Knowledge of history and the lessons that it is supposed to teach us. (2) From a person not raised in this country ( a lot like our president ) that is not used to the idea that we fought with red blood to make this the United States of America. You say that will never happen here, you need to pay attention to the rest of the world. (3) From a paid lobbyist like the guy below.
christine cranfill January 22, 2013 at 06:34 AM
I hope n.c. takes this stand,God bless him...
John Tribble January 22, 2013 at 11:39 AM
To kpj; You stated the 2ndone ammendment was to empower the militia, not common citizens? Look at the Georgia State Defense Force. Militia are in fact,"VOLUNTEERS WHO FALL INTO ACTION" at the time of need for military action to uphold the constitution and safety of its citizens. Learn your history. John Tribble- Holly Springs
Eric Tailgunner G January 22, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Maybe every single County Sheriff in GA would end up like how the Utah Sheriffs did. Where they all say they would give their lives to defend their citizens right(s) granted to them by the Constitution.
STEVE January 22, 2013 at 01:11 PM
im proud to be a legal American citizen when law enforcement officials,,,show/act/and enforce,, ,,the rights guaranteed us,,aa legal usa citizens,,under our bill of rights,,and constitutional decree of our great nation,,, MY PERSONAL MESSAGE TO SHERIFF GARRISON,,, ,,,SIR I AM AVAILABLE,,24-7 QUICKSILVERSLIM@COMCAST.NET
Norman January 22, 2013 at 01:55 PM
Thank you Sheriff. I think its unreasonable for anyone to come out against you for upholding the Constitution, which is part of your job. That's just dumb. As a member of GeorgiaCarry.org we are working very hard to amend the Georgia Constitution to not allow the Governor to confiscate weapons during an emergency. That is precisely the time where citizens should have weapons to defend themselves.
paul page January 22, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Thank you for standing up for whats right the new Sherrif of Dade County Georiga Ray Cross will stand with you he is a good man
James Wainwright January 22, 2013 at 08:25 PM
I agree there are idiots represented here. They're the ones' who won't understand the importance of standing with the Sheriff. I guess we're all necessary for the mix however, it's unfortunate they don't appreciate who they have in that office. We could all be so much stronger if we were less like sheep and more like the Shepard ( or guard dog).
Robin McGowan January 22, 2013 at 11:07 PM
@Frank Jones:- The tried and tested law of the land plus the constitution must hold precedence over newly introduced untested legislated proposed law: otherwise your national laws and constitution can be trampled underfoot by any piece of legislation introduced either in error or by intent to harm the people whom are to be protected by those same laws of the land and constitution. If a president can introduce, by executive order, any thing that appears to be situationally expedient at any time: then your constituation and national laws stand for nothing and the stage is set for a dictator to seize power over your lives. Think long and hard about this, man: because the United States is the Flag Ship of Western Democracy and ALL of the citizens of the Western world depend upon your maintaining your freedom. This is, in no small part, just why your country is constantly under attack by those forces that hate the West and all it stands for. Stand up for FREEDOM !! [or move to a slave state like China]/
Robin McGowan January 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM
I don't believe that you folk should allow this gun legislation debate to be divided along political party lines > it is a constitutional matter, which makes it far more important than mere politics. It involves your legal freedoms: and this is YOUR watch on your constitutional rights. Gotta get this one right, folks.
James Wainwright January 23, 2013 at 11:27 AM
@Robin McGowan , Very, very well said!
Frank Jones January 23, 2013 at 02:18 PM
Robin...I agree with parts of your argument, specifically, the gun debate should not be a Democrat vs. Republican argument. Instead, it should be an open discussion between all parties with the intent to solve gun violence and violence in general. Unfortunately, too many people are using erroneous arguments to garner support. Our rule of law in this country is based upon checks and balances. Congress may pass a bill and the President can check their authority by either signing the bill into law or vetoing it. If the President and Congress implement a law, the Supreme Court checks their authority by determining if it is constitutional. Likewise, if the President issues an Executive Order both Congress and the Supreme Court can check his authority. As such, we are far, far away from have a dictator seize power in the USA. Political expediency isn't anything new and isn't a Democrat or Republican tactic. Both parties have embraced it and continue to do so. What we need is a sensible debate on whether there is a legitimate reason to have high power, military style, semi-automatic & automatic weapons. There should also be a debate on whether there should be reasonable restrictions on the purchase of firearms such as -- all transactions must be registered (gun shows, gun shops, private party, etc) - afterall cars are. A greater fear is that Sheriff Garrison has declared that he won't enforce any law he deems unconstitutional. Now he's acting like a King.
Robin McGowan January 23, 2013 at 10:06 PM
Thanks Frank, for your sane evaluation of the situation as you see it. Level heads are definitely what your country needs in this situation when passions are running so very high. I hope you get that sensible debate to the satisfaction of all American citizens, both the cool headed and the hot headed [since you are all equal under the law]. I think your closing statement is out of line with the main body of your comment though. As an elected official, Sheriff Garrison is responsible to his electorate and is doing his job to the best of his ability. His decision not to enforce any law he deems to be unconstitutional, is only a "slow down" of the legal process, and as such poses no threat to the civil liberties of the people of your Great Land. Besides, if he has overstepped his authority here, it is a harmless one and can be easily corrected at the polls on next voting day; unlike the executive action of your President, who holds his office on a very narrow majority in public support, and is instigating a very serious amendment to your constitution by a round about way. [which I think can be successfully challenged by your Supreme Court]. But thank you for your comment: it is comforting to know that your democracy is alive and well at a time when it appears to be being tested sorely.
Kenneth M January 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM
@Frank Jones. Your right, the Second Amendment is not under attack; The Fourth Amendment is. According to the National Defense Authorization Act(NDAA), Homeland Security can determine that the possession of a gun puts you under suspicion of being a terrorist and can have you detained by the Military indefinitely. What if your local FBI office decides that because of NDAA, protesting against County Ordinances in front of the Court House puts you under suspicion of terrorism. That is an attack against the First Amendment. Where Does It Stop? When the Constitution and the Bill of Rights no longer exist. Read the NDAA and then look in you Dictionary for the definition of "suspicion".
Kenneth M January 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Frank and Robin, I read both you statements with great enthusiasm. Robin, Sherriff Garrison, as an elected official, has sworn to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, just like the President. He has the moral and legal obligation not to obey laws that are not Constitutional or legal. Frank, I agree that there should be no debate because the rights of the people shall not be infringed. You are totally off-base about Executive Orders. The President issues the orders to help him run the Government and they are based on Acts passed by Congress. The Acts of Congress are the law, not Executive orders. The only thing congress can do about Executive Orders is to pass laws that the negate the order. The only thing the Supreme Court can do is declare the Act of Congress the order is based on is unconstitutional. Sorry my friend, you need to do some reading before spouting.
Kenneth M January 23, 2013 at 11:41 PM
@Georgia Moderate. A threat? I say MOLON LABE to those who would demand that I give up any of my Constitutional Rights and the Amendments thereof, all 27 of them.. Molon Labe is Greek for "Come and Take". When I enlisted in the Armed Forces of The United States I took an oath to protect and defend the constitution, not the president or any other elected official, and that oath has no time limit. So yes, MOLON LABE!!
Guy Bailey January 24, 2013 at 04:37 PM
As far as I can see he's been elected to enforce the law - that's all laws, not just ones he doesn't like.
Frank Jones January 24, 2013 at 11:53 PM
Kenneth, if the executive order is contrary to the law, contrary to the wishes of Congress, there is recourse by Congress. I understand the law and the Constitution. As to Sheriff Garrison, he is sworn to defend the laws of the nation, the Constitution and Georgia. As such, he is supposed to obey and enforce any LAW whether our not he personally feels it is in violation of the Constitution. If there is a law, it is the law until either Congress and the President act our the Supreme Court declares otherwise. My issue with Garrison is his statement essentially starting that he determines what the Constitution says. That's not his job. It's above his pay grade.
Kenneth M January 26, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Mr. Jones If I understand correctly then Sherriff Garrison must blindly follow any law, even if it is un-constitutional. When I joined the Armed Services I too an Oath but it did not say to protect and defend the laws of the United States. It said the Constitution of the United States. My oath is almost like the one Obama took on the 20th of Jan. Garrison took almost the same oath as I and the President did in that he also swore to protect and defend the constitution of the State of Georgia also. It is very apparent that you have not served nor taken the oath. I joined the armed forces shortly after the Mei Lei incident in Vietnam. We were taught that we were under moral obligation not to obey orders that we knew were illegal. How is that any different than the moral obligation to not obey laws that are unconstitutional.
Kenneth M January 26, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Also Mr. Jones, you may want to www.supremecourt.gov and look up District of Columbia v. Heller where in the court held that, and I copy and paste: Held: 1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53. (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22. (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation 2 DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER Syllabus of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
Byron Rangitsch January 28, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Kenneth. The Majority opinion for DC v Heller was much longer than that. From Section III "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited." "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms" "We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”
Kenneth M January 29, 2013 at 10:29 PM
Yes Byron, it is. That is why I posted the link and stated the case. My point was about Mr. Jones's statement that Sheriff Garrison was determining what the constitution says when the Supreme Court already had for him. I agree with the part you posted about unusual weapons, the mentally ill and such. The private citizen sound not be allowed WDA's. What would have Adam Lanza (mentally ill) have done if he had killed his mother to gain access to her nuclear weapon, her nerve gas or other such.
Kenneth M January 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM
Guy, would you want Sheriff Garrison to enforce a law that prohibits you from posting your opinion on this page, in violation of the First Amendment. That is what you are saying, isn't it, that you want be arrested for speaking what is on your mind if there were such a law against it. After all, it would be the law. Think about it.
Frank Jones January 30, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Kenneth, as Bryon pointed out in reference to DC v Heller, the Supreme Court doesn't believe the right to bear arms is absolute and the court pointed out several historical exceptions. There are other examples are the 2nd Amendment being "trampled": The right to bear arms by minors (not prohibited by the Constitution) The right to purchase arms by minors (not prohibited by the Constitution) The right to purchase ammunition by minors (not prohibited by the Constitution) The right to bear arms on airplanes and airports. (not prohibited by the Constitutio and maybe if passengers were packing heat on 9/11, things would have been different.) The right to bear arms in courthouses (not prohibited by the Constitution). If the state can bear arms in courthouses, should we the people be able to bear arms to prevent injustices? (Sheriff Garrison's dept enforces this violation of the 2nd Amendment.) The right to bear arms by the insane (not prohibited by the Constitution and the last I checked, insane citizens are guaranteed equal rights under the Constitution.)
Rob Miller January 31, 2013 at 07:52 PM
When a Sheriff's office or one of his officers accuses someone of a crime without a victim, harm, nor any evidence of intent to do harm, they are infringing upon that individual's constitutional rights. I applaud Roger Garrison's words, and I hope to see them result in a HUGE reduction of accusations against Cherokee County citizens. I am certain that if I am ever pulled over in a traffic stop in this county, I will show the arresting agent this very letter when they ask to see my license.
Bobby February 04, 2013 at 06:31 PM
A sheriff cannot enforce federal law. Period. Seems a lot of you fell for this grandstanding as fact.
Concerned in Canton March 06, 2013 at 02:22 PM
What a person doesn't understand scares them. Do you understand the mechanics of an "assault" weapon? Most likely not. Have you ever been in a position where you had to protect your family? Most likely not. Have you taken a look at Erika Nedner's article "History shows bans don't work"? If you haven't, you should! There is a lot of information there. I applaud Sheriff Garrison for standing up for the right that our forefathers set down before us in the second amendment. People see guns as the problem. That is like saying a spoon made me fat or a car killed someone in an accident. We have to respect weapons just like we do vehicles. One wrong move and they can kill someone. You have to be taught to drive. You need to be taught to handle a firearm. I'm sorry, but if someone is trying to rape me... You can bet I'm not going to just pee my self. Before I let anyone harm me or my family I will fight to the death. I'm not going to just roll over and take whatever comes my way. How about we be proactive! Criminals are criminals and nothing is going to change that! Even if the government banns all types of gun..... Do you really think it will keep them out of the hands of criminals?! NO! The only thing you are doing is taking away a person's right to defend themselves against such criminals.
Kenneth M March 06, 2013 at 08:26 PM
Good for you, Bobby. If you are correct then your Sherriff will prohibit the Dept. of Homeland Security from enforcing the NDAA which states that any US Citizen can be indefinitely detained for being a domestic terrorist, IE; Veterans, Constitutionalists, ECT. Your Sherriff will also prohibit the IRS from confiscating peoples property for non payment of taxes. Both of these scenarios are examples of Federal laws along with the Federal gun ban laws that this article is about. MOLON LABE
Kenneth M March 06, 2013 at 08:57 PM
Concerned, you have put this whole thing in the proper prospective. According to FBI statistics there are many more crimes that are stopped by law abiding citizens with guns than crimes completed by criminals. In fact, according to those same statistics you are 300 times more likely to be killed by your own doctor than by a gun. Let us not forget the real reason for the Second Amendment to the Constitution. This is from the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

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