Tell Colorado Sheriffs to Enforce Gun Laws

Target: Sheriffs John Cooke and Terry Maketa

Goal: Urge Colorado sheriffs to enforce Colorado’s legislation on gun regulation.

Colorado governor John Hickenlooper has signed into law new gun control legislation. Background checks have been expanded, and the size of ammunition magazines have been limited. This makes Colorado one of the first states to implement stronger gun control regulations following the massacre at Sandy Hook. As such, Colorado is setting a laudable example for the remainder of the country, but some law officials in Colorado have already brazenly declared that they have no intention of enforcing the state’s own laws.

Weld County sheriff John Cooke has said, ““Why put the effort into enforcing a law that is unenforceable?” He further went on to say, “With all of the other crimes that are going on, I don’t have the manpower, the resources or the desire to enforce laws like that.” Cooke has made several other comments to this effect, arguing that the measures are “kneejerk” and that criminals will still gain access to guns.

Another sheriff, Terry Maketa of El Paso, has also firmly opposed the new legislation. “We will not tolerate that kind of intrusion on our personal property rights,” he has said. Cooke, Maketa, and sheriffs like them are letting their personal feelings on gun ownership overrule their responsibility to the people as officers of the law. Sheriffs are supposed to uphold the written laws, not make their own arbitrary decisions about those laws. To openly state that they have no intention of enforcing their states’ own laws is not in any sense responsible police work. Sign this petition to protest their decisions.


Dear Sheriffs Cooke and Maketa,

When you accepted your badge and agreed to serve the citizens of your counties and state, you were agreeing to enforce the state and federal laws and see to it that people within your area uphold the law. Now, when legislation has been signed into action that you dislike, you have decided that you refuse to enforce it. This is not responsible work as officers of the law. This is not being accountable and good sheriffs to the people of Colorado.

It is not your place, Sheriff Cooke, to decide that a law cannot be enforced. Obviously a law cannot be enforced if law officers refuse to enforce it, but if officers enforce it, then it most certainly can be enforced. Private gun producers and sellers can be accountable to law enforcement. As a matter of fact, it is ludicrous to claim that measures such as these cannot be enforced by police or the government, given that we have plenty of examples in other countries of even stronger gun regulations working in practice and being rigidly enforced.

Sheriff Maketa, the Second Amendment to the Constitution allows that a “well-armed militia” can legally possess guns. However, even if one allows that the Second Amendment is referring to the private property of every individual citizen, this does not mean that states cannot set reasonable restrictions on the limits of production of this product. Literally every product in the United States is regulated; it stands to reason that guns, too, can legally be regulated in terms of background checks and the ammunition capacities of magazines. This is not “infringing upon personal property” any more than telling people they cannot own Apache helicopters or bombs is infringing upon personal property, and it is certainly not banning all, most, or even any guns. The law is simply regulating certain aspects of gun sales and gun production.

Please, put your duty to the people of Colorado first and set aside such spurious arguments as “criminals will do this anyway.” This is simply a bad argument. Criminals don’t follow laws because they are criminals, but that doesn’t mean we can’t, shouldn’t, or don’t have laws (or, for that matter, that we shouldn’t arrest or otherwise penalize the criminals who do break them). The same logic could be applied to everything from murder laws to traffic limits, but we still have those laws for a reason. It is your duty to enforce them.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: scoutnurse via Flickr

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One Comment

  1. Nancy Higgins says:

    It’s time the Wild West was history.

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