As the Obama administration and some Democrat lawmakers plot more infringements on the right to keep and bear arms, residents in at least one Kentucky county are relieved knowing that they will be protected from unconstitutional gun control and federal lawlessness by their chief law-enforcement officer, Sheriff Denny Peyman. In an interview with The New American, the liberty-minded Jackson County sheriff said he would refuse to enforce any more assaults on the Second Amendment, and that federal agents would not be allowed to do so either — at least not in his jurisdiction. Teachers will be allowed to bear arms as well, he said.
The patriotic sheriff, who believes in the Constitution and wants citizens to be able to defend themselves, is part of a growing trend that is catching fire all across America — especially recently as Obama tries to further restrict gun rights. Chief law-enforcement officers from Oregon and Texas to Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Alabama are drawing a line in the sand, telling the federal government that in their jurisdictions, at least, the Constitution still applies and citizens’ rights must be respected. Numerous state governments, meanwhile, are considering legislation that would put federal agents in prison for up to five years if they attempt to enforce new unconstitutional infringements.
“Anytime that they come against the Second Amendment, or try to say ‘we’re going to do this or we’re going to do that,’ well we here are not going to comply with that,” said Sheriff Peyman, who became an instant celebrity after promising local residents that he would defend their rights. “I can’t justify complying, taking a gun away from a citizen when it takes me sometimes 30 minutes to respond to a situation where they have somebody kicking in their door in a remote area. I would rather that people be able to protect themselves.”
Despite the Second Amendment, the sheriff explained, politicians in Washington, D.C., are openly talking about banning certain magazines and clips that hold more than an arbitrary number of bullets. “I have one, and the reason I have one is because I want one, not because I’m the sheriff, but because I’m a citizen and I’m entitled to have those,” he continued. “The government has them, so the citizens are allowed to have them — that’s what the Second Amendment is.”
Also among the most extreme proposals being pushed by Obama and some Democrats in Congress are restrictions on popular semi-automatic firearms. “This last shooting was with pistols, you know. So it’s just a matter of time before they try and come for all of them,” he said. “What they’re doing is they’re working toward basically confiscating, but if you look at the areas where the guns are confiscated, there are more deaths and more shootings in those areas than there are where the people are armed.”
According to Sheriff Peyman, gun rights activists, and even anti-gun extremists, all of the seemingly small infringements on the unalienable rights guaranteed in the Second Amendment are aimed at eventually disarming America. "The way I look at it, they’re trying to come in the backdoor and trying to soften the Second Amendment,” the sheriff said. “Obviously that's a good way to do that — it has worked for years, that's how they got the Constitution in the shape that it's in. But that’s not what was intended; the Second Amendment is intended to protect the people from the government — for this particular thing.”
And in Jackson County, regardless of what out-of-control politicians in Washington say, that is the way it is going to stay as long as Sheriff Peyman is in charge. To start with, no unconstitutional acts or executive edicts will be enforced by his office, he said. When asked about whether he would allow federal agents intent on violating gun rights into his county, the sheriff’s answer was simple and to the point: absolutely not.
“No, they won’t come in here and do that. It goes back to us being a sovereign state, it goes back to the way our system is set up — with myself being the chief law-enforcement officer here — federal agents will not be allowed to come in here and do that,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that they’re talking about [in Washington, D.C.] is not even a discussable issue…. I can’t speak for what’s going on in Colorado or Chicago, I can only speak for what’s going on in my area, but that’s the way we’re going to handle things in Jackson County, Kentucky.”
The president’s executive orders on guns, meanwhile, should be setting off alarm bells nationwide, the sheriff continued. “I think the way he’s doing this now, what he’s trying to do now is soften our rights to see if the American people will stand for that, and if they will, then the government will come with even harsher gun control,” he said. “That’s the way I see what is going on right now. They’re trying to appease — this is to try to make gun owners and people in my position kind of put their guards down. OK, they’re not going to take our guns, they’re only going to do this, but that’s just this time.”
Like many millions of Americans, Sheriff Peyman is concerned about federal power grabs across the board, saying that much of it has been accomplished by offering taxpayer money with strings attached to state and local authorities. The unilateral overreach by the executive branch, however, is becoming increasingly alarming as well. In fact, as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) explained about his bill to rein in “King” Obama’s anti-gun edicts, it is an urgent and serious problem that must be addressed by officials at all levels nationwide.
“We have a system that we work by, and an executive order leans more toward a dictatorship,” Sheriff Peyman said about Obama’s unilateral decrees. “This has been going on for years, so we need to come up with a better plan, and I think I came up with a better plan — a better idea of what we need to do to have less people hurt. We’re always going to have some — we can’t control people and we can’t control their actions — but we can eliminate some of them.”
The sheriff said his county was currently working on a plan that would allow armed teachers and school officials, a popular idea that has been pushed by activists for years but recently exploded into the national debate. He explained that such common-sense measures — while certainly not perfect — could help prevent or minimize mass-shooting tragedies, which virtually always occur in legally mandated so-called “gun free zones” such as schools.
“In my county — I can only speak for my county and my constituents — most of my people carry guns. Right now we’re working on a deal that we’ll have guns in schools, because we feel that there would be less serious problems,” Sheriff Peyman explained. “Instead of 20 to 30 kids getting shot, like in a type of situation that we’ve experienced here in the last little bit, we could cut that down to less numbers if there are armed teachers there.”
Promises of more taxpayer money from Washington just will not cut it, the sheriff added. “The federal government says, ‘well, we’ll put people in the schools and stuff.’ The federal government is broke. The state is broke. The counties are broke,” he observed. “We’re going to fall back on the resources that we have to take care of ourselves.”
With federal lawlessness reaching historic proportions, Sheriff Peyman is hardly alone — state and local officials across America are increasingly seeking legal remedies to protect the rights of citizens. One of the most popular in recent years has been the concept of nullification, where a state government declares unconstitutional federal statutes to be invalid within its jurisdiction.
Both sides of the aisle have pushed the idea, with conservative-leaning states nullifying ObamaCare and unconstitutional gun control, for instance, while more liberal states nullify federal drug statutes or lawless infringements on civil liberties. Voters in Colorado and Washington State, for example, recently legalized marijuana for recreational use despite statutes passed by Congress. Over 15 others have legalized it for medical purposes despite federal prohibition.
Sheriff Peyman, of course, understands and appreciates state sovereignty as one of the tools available to rein in an out-of-control federal government that refuses to respect constitutional limits on its power. “What’s happened over the years is they’ve allowed the federal government to make decisions for them — strictly, I believe, because of financial reasons; you know, ‘let us do this and we’re going to give you money for your roads, money for whatever,’ and that’s how they’ve gained so much control,” he explained. “The way it is here in Kentucky, we’re a commonwealth and a sovereign state, and we make the decisions here.”
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, politics, and more. He can be reached at
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