Media Omission: Gun activist Pratt calls on Colorado sheriffs to arrest federal officials if necessaryWednesday, April 17th, 2013
Larry Pratt, Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, praised Weld County Sheriff John Cooke recently for taking a “very strong stand on what he thinks the limits of the Federal government are.”
Speaking to Greeley talk show host Scooter McGee, Pratt, who’s in Colorado now to support the recall effort of State Rep. Mike McLachlan, said some sheriffs around the country are ready to arrest federal officials if, in the sheriffs’ views, they are violating the U.S. Constitution.
PRATT Well, I’m very encouraged by the number of sheriffs that–it’s at least pushing 400 now, that have said– there’s a spectrum. At a minimum, they’re saying they’re not going to cooperate with any unconstitutional gun grabs that the federal government might participate in. And at the other end of the spectrum, sheriffs are saying, “Not only will I not cooperate, but if the Feds are doing something unconstitutional in my county, particularly a gun grab, I’ll put them in jail.” But they’re also addressing other issues where the Feds act unconstitutionally and threaten to incarcerate citizens of their county, the sheriffs are interposing themselves and saying, “If you try to do that, you don’t have authority, and you’re not going to do that in my county, and if you try it, I will arrest you.” This has happened in confrontations with the Forest Service, BLM, the Food and Drug Administration, and of course, the ATF – the gun police.
In a column in the Cortez Journal Monday, Montezuma Country Sheriff Dennis Spruell echoed Pratt’s comments, writing that if sheriffs “think a state or federal law contradicts the Constitution, they are under no obligation to enforce it.”
It wasn’t clear if Pratt thought Cooke would actually arrest federal officials, or if Spruell would arrest them, if necessary to enforce their views of the U.S. Constitution, so I called Cooke and Spruell to find out. Cooke did not return my call immediately, but Spruell said, “I swore an oath to the Constitution, but there’s no law that says I can arrest someone who violates the Constitution.”
In his radio interview, Pratt went on to point to a specific example of a situation, in addition to stopping alleged gun grabs, when Sheriffs need to exert their power and arrest the feds–when the Department of Education sends in a SWAT team to collect student loans.
PRATT: Well, it can get pretty absurd. There was a case last year, a young woman looked outside and realized that her residence was completely surrounded by the Men in Black. And when all the commotion finally subsided, it turned out that that was the Department of Education SWAT team, and they were coming for her because she was delinquent on her education [loans]. McGEE: Oh, on her student loans! PRATT: Exactly. Now, the fact that in the past creditors were able to garnish your wages, put a lien on if you own your house, repo[ssess] your car–. Those are actually sensible, measured, equivalent responses to the problem. But now, if they have a SWAT team, they figure they got to use it, or else why do we ask the taxpayers to spend all this money on – McGEE: And, when it comes to budgets, remember we spent a hundred and fifteen thousand dollars last year and we increase the budget every year and we have to justify it by spending it, and using it and—oh, my god, Larry. You’re absolutely right, again. PRATT: So, off we go and the Department of Education is now using a SWAT team to collect delinquent student loans. Frankly, that’s where we need sheriffs. The sheriff needs to come in and say [affecting a ‘good ol’ boy, southern accent], “Boy, I don’t think you ought to be doing that.” And make sure that the boys understand that the sheriff is serious as a heart attack, that he is just talking smooth, and that he is not going to let them do that.
The Durango Herald will live stream a speech by Pratt in Durango today at 6:30 p.m.. He’s in Colorado in support of efforts to recall State Rep. Mike McLachlan.