Two thumbs down for Merritt

When Sheriff Merritt got a thumbs down for signing a petition to not enforce the Constitution he should have received a double thumbs down.

I am the owner of more than 20 weapons and an ardent supporter of my Second Amendment rights. But I do not believe any law enforcement official should be allowed to decide which laws are constitutional and thereby which ones they will enforce.

The NRA spews out its misinformation and rhetoric to the American public every day that the government is out to take all our weapons away. The only way to take away all our weapons is to repeal the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Amending the Constitution is a two-step process. First, the Congress must propose the amendment by a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate. The proposal must then be ratified by three-fourths (38) of the state legislatures. This would never happen. If the Equal Rights Amendment, which sought to give women in America equal protection under the law, could not pass, abolishing the Second Amendment would be impossible.

The Founding Fathers put into place a system of checks and balances so no one branch of the government could become too powerful. The Executive Branch (president) proposes laws. Obama has done this by introducing restrictions on certain types of assault weapons. The Legislative Branch (Congress) passes the legislation. If Congress would vote to put restrictions on certain kinds of weapons, the Judicial Branch (Supreme Court) would decide if the law was constitutional and should be enforced.

In Heller vs. District of Columbia, the High Court ruled handguns cannot be outlawed in D.C. In their opinion, the court said guns that are in “common use” cannot be banned. However, the court left the door open on weapons such as shoulder launched rockets and machine guns, which are not in common use. No case concerning assault weapons has been brought before the court so it’s not clear how they would rule.

One thing must be clear, the Supreme Court, and not the local sheriff, can decide if a law is unconstitutional. Local law enforcement cannot pick and choose which laws they want to enforce, if they did we would have anarchy and the very Constitution they claim to be defending would not be worth the paper it is written on.

John Armstrong

St. Marys