Whitney Phillips
wphillips@greeleytribune.com

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January 18, 2013
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Weld Sheriff Cooke says he won’t enforce Obama’s proposed gun restrictions

Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, along with some other elected officials across the country, is voicing vehement opposition to President Barack Obama’s sweeping plan to address gun violence, calling the proposal “out of line” and saying he refuses to enforce any part of it.

On Wednesday, Obama presented a major gun control plan, calling on Congress to pass laws that would reinstate the ban on assault weapons, outlaw high-capacity ammunition magazines and require mandatory background checks for all gun purchases. He announced more than 20 executive orders that don’t require congressional action and only apply to federal agencies.

Cooke said he disagrees with the president on every aspect of the proposal, aside from parts aimed at addressing mental health issues. Cooke said the measures blatantly violate the Second Amendment.

“I’m not going to help him in any way,” Cooke said. “I’m not going to enforce it because it’s unenforceable and because I don’t have the resources. The federal government doesn’t have the resources.”

Cooke said of particular concern is the president’s request for universal background checks, which he said would halt private gun sales. He said that’s a step toward mandatory gun registration.

“That’s not what the citizens of Weld County want,” Cooke said.

Other sheriffs, including Larimer County’s Sheriff Justin Smith, have voiced similar vows to defy Obama’s proposals. The Denver Post reports that Smith posted statements on his Facebook page, saying the proposed measures “discriminately target and prosecute law-abiding Americans who are simply exercising their Constitutionally recognized Right to keep and bear arms.”

The Associated Press reports that elected officials in Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah and Alaska have taken defiance a step further, proposing laws that would make it a crime to enforce federal gun restrictions. Cooke said such a law is unlikely in Colorado, but he wouldn’t rule out some sort of legal action against the federal government.

Cooke said Obama is “barking up the wrong tree” in focusing on gun legislation as opposed to mental health improvements. He said the government has created this environment by failing to keep those with severe mental health issues in institutions.

“He’s trying to blame the guns, when the problem is the people behind them,” Cooke said.


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My Windsor Now Updated Jan 18, 2013 12:22AM Published Jan 26, 2013 08:09AM Copyright 2013 My Windsor Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.