Thomas Jefferson said: “A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, when 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49 percent.” Apparently, where gun legislation is concerned, Sheriff Hoy has the slightly different view that Eagle County is part of a democracy rather than a constitutional republic.
In a recent Vail Daily commentary, Sheriff Hoy stated his reasons for not joining the 54 Colorado sheriffs who filed a lawsuit challenging the state gun control laws.
Sheriff Hoy wrote: “I have been sworn to uphold the Constitution and laws passed by Congress and the state Legislature.” He also said: “As an elected sheriff, I do not have the constitutional authority to create or challenge legislation that is lawfully voted upon by Colorado’s elected representatives.”
While it is true that Sheriff Hoy has no authority to create legislation, the oath he took to protect, defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States contains within it all the authority needed to challenge any piece of legislation. That sworn oath must first and foremost be a sheriff’s primary duty and must supersede upholding any piece of legislation passed by either Congress or a state legislature that infringes on the constitutional rights of its citizenry.
Sheriff Hoy’s references to “community values” or “the unique perspectives of the community” should give one pause. It is no surprise that our founders made no reference to such concerns in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights. They were versed in history and strong enough in character to know where that road would lead (from a freedom-based constitutional republic to a mob-ruled democratic tyranny).