DALLAS (AP) — A suburban Dallas sheriff said Wednesday he doesn’t consider all gun control to be unconstitutional, days after posting on Facebook that he wouldn’t enforce any laws by “misguided politicians” infringing on the Second Amendment.
Collin County Sheriff Terry Box said in an interview he wouldn’t have a problem with the 23 executive actions announced by President Barack Obama after an elementary school shooting last month in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 children and six adults dead at the school.
But over the weekend, Box posted that neither he nor his deputies “will participate in the enforcement of laws that violate our precious Constitutional rights, including our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.” Box is among several sheriffs nationally who have spoken out against federal efforts to pass new gun control measures in the wake of the Connecticut shooting.
“As long as I remain Sheriff of Collin County, I will not participate in the actions of misguided politicians who seek to impede our citizen’s right to all of the privileges afforded by our Constitution,” Box continued in the posting.
But Box said Wednesday that he was speaking proactively to concerns raised by many people in his county and that he wouldn’t make any enforcement decisions without consulting with lawyers who are knowledgeable of the U.S. Constitution.
“I wouldn’t make the call myself to do that,” said the sheriff, whose county includes suburbs northeast of Dallas. “And yes, I know that local law enforcement officers … do not enforce many of the federal gun laws. That’s up to the ATF and agencies of that nature.”
Box’s Facebook post prompted plenty of responses, most of which he described as positive. He said his assistants have needed extra help this week answering calls from people about gun control.
He wrote the post after hearing from concerned residents.
“I didn’t just overnight decide to make a comment on gun control,” said Box, who has been Collin County sheriff since 1985 and was re-elected last year.
He’s most concerned about laws that would restrict gun purchases in the future or require gun owners to turn in their weapons or register them.
Sheriff’s offices in Dallas County and neighboring Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth, said they will wait and see what Congress and Obama do.
“We don’t need to jump to conclusions until we know exactly what’s going on,” Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez said in an interview. “But unfortunately, nowadays we hear something that might be true, and we run with it.”
Terry Grisham, a spokesman for Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson, said talking about hypothetical laws would be “sliding down a very slippery slope.”
“Dee’s position is simply he will enforce all the laws of the state of Texas and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” said Grisham, declining to comment on Box’s position but adding that Anderson and Box are friends.
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