Brian Kotowski: Grinding axes
March 26, 2013
Sheriff Garrett Wiggins' recent remarks about Colorado's new gun control legislation have sparked quite a conversation in Routt County and an impressive array of letters to the editor. Among those upset by the sheriff's stance, there appears to be a common complaint: Wiggins' conclusion that the legislation is unenforceable is not his decision to make and represents a dereliction of duty that should not be tolerated from any elected official.
Syracuse University published a study earlier this year that finds that federal gun law prosecutions have declined since President Barack Obama took office. Prosecutions of federal gun laws (according to the Syracuse study) peaked in 2004 at just more than 11,000. The 2012 tally is slightly more than 7,700. One wonders if those outraged by Sheriff Wiggins are curious to know why.
I've just typed "sanctuary cities" into my favorite search engine and came up with quite a list. It wasn't numbered, but I'm guessing it's more than 100 cities in the United States, including eight here in Colorado. For those unfamiliar with the term, a "sanctuary city" is a municipality that publicly has announced itself as a safe haven offering indemnity to illegal aliens from their violations of federal, state and local immigration laws.
In 2010 the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General released the findings of an eight-month audit that found that the federal government was failing to enforce border laws. Among the explanations offered by the administration is that some of the provisions in question are "unenforceable."
I've not heard anyone express alarm at such widespread failures to enforce the law. I suspect that those angry with Sheriff Wiggins are more concerned with grinding an ideological axe than they are with the dedicated enforcement of existing statutes.