Sheriffs Call Maryland's Proposed Gun Laws 'Suicide Mission' For Law Enforcement

Two Maryland sheriffs have said that if HB 786 passes, they will not enforce it because it is a "suicide mission."

Annapolis, MD – Sheriffs from several counties in Maryland appeared before the House of Delegates on Monday to testify against gun control legislation they said violated citizens’ rights.

“The way the bill is written, it is impossible to comply. I can’t send [my deputies] on a suicide mission,” Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis told the Capital Gazette.

Sheriff Lewis said that sending out police to take guns away from law-abiding citizens will likely cause those citizens to shoot at law enforcement officers.

The sheriff said he would not comply with any of the proposed laws that would require his deputies to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, the Capital Gazette reported.

Maryland House Bill 786, proposed by Democratic State Delegate Vanessa Atterbeary, would regulate shotguns and hunting rifles much the same as handguns.

The law would create a long-gun qualification license and require background checks for private sales, according to the Capital Gazette.

And while the law doesn’t specify how long guns are to be confiscated from their owners, it puts the onus on the Maryland State Police to create regulations for executing the law.

HB 786 calls for a penalty of a $10,000 fine and/or up to five years in prison for violators, the Capital Gazette reported.

As it stands, Maryland law enforcement officers may be called upon to remove weapons in “red flag” cases, when a judge has signed an Extreme Risk Protective Order that requires the citizen to turn in their weapons and ammunition.

Sheriff Lewis said that “red flag” removal orders signed by a judge were different from what he was objecting to in the proposed legislation.

He questioned the motivation behind the proposed gun control legislation while speaking to a room full of people after the he testified.

“We’re gonna let them know that we are sick and tired of being penalized for Baltimore City’s inability to control crime," Lewis told the room, according to the Salisbury Daily Times. "If these bills pass, we will not comply."

"Law-abiding citizens are repeatedly being penalized because of Baltimore City's inability to control their crime," he said. "And I'm sorry — I'm not someone's puppet. I'm going to stand up for what I think is unjust and unconstitutional to the American people, including those living in the state in Maryland."

Sheriff Lewis also opposed House Bill 612, which would put the Colt AR-15 Sports H-Bar rifle on the list of regulated firearms in the state.

He said that, if passed, HB 612 would lead to confiscation without compensation for the gun owners, the Salisbury Daily Times reported.

"There are bills that would truly make it a suicide mission for a sheriff deputy or a Maryland state trooper," the sheriff said. "There are just so many reasons why this is unjust and unconstitutional."

Somerset County Sheriff Ronnie Howard and Harford County Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler joined Sheriff Lewis in testifying in opposition to the proposed bills in Annapolis.

Sheriff Howard said he also does not plan to enforce the law if passed because it is unconstitutional, WBOC reported.

He also said having guns is a safety measure for residents of remote areas.

“It would be very dangerous for someone to turn in their weapon, living in a very remote area and someone else trying to break into their house. I can't. I'm not. They need it for protection," Sheriff Howard told WBOC.

Critics said the sheriffs were acting above the law in their refusal to implement the new gun control laws if passed.

But Sheriff Lewis was quick to point out their hypocrisy.

The Capital Gazette said the sheriff likened his decision to ignore certain gun laws to Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby opting not to prosecute marijuana possession cases.

Comments (37)
No. 1-18
Officer Cynical
Officer Cynical

Admin looking out for their officers/deputies. Take a good look: they're a rare species.

LEO0301
LEO0301

The difference between an elected official (Sheriff) as opposed to an appointed one (Chief). I love it when law enforcement doesn't kowtow to the demands of idiotic politicians.

Katarina
Katarina

These Sheriffs are not only looking out for their Deputies, but are also looking out for the citizens who have a right to self defense. My guess is that the Democrats are already working on their next election fix to boot them out of office. They are becoming quite proficient at it all across the country.

Thinblueline
Thinblueline

I say that dumb bitch go try and take them, as a LEO I would never enforce this law either. Not that someone might shoot at me (they probably would). But I would never take a law abiding citizens gun away for a law like this, try and take mine!!

Usaf9000
Usaf9000

You can’t teach liberals common sense, you have to be born with it.

new2lv2
new2lv2

Thank you so much Maryland Sheriff's for you stance against those proposed bills. As a gun owning citizen, I have been worried about days like this coming. I have told my friends an family the police will not turn against their own citizens if laws like those passed. Glad to see my faith in law enforcement was true. Thank you Sheriffs.

policeofficermom
policeofficermom

Maybe those Democrats (idiots) should go try to do that themselves! Good luck with that! Keeping mine!

goodgentnsc
goodgentnsc

Two good sheriff's the county in south Carolina that i live in the sheriff here said he would never confiscate firearms because the law makers can't take away the constitution and people's rights. I also have a problem with the red flag laws that are being written as a retired LEO them laws are going to get officers hurt also,there needs to be more of an investigation before a judge signs a warrant because the way most are now one family member can get mad at the other for some stupid reason and call the sheriff's office and tell them lies to have his or her guns confiscated, i would never want to hurt any of my brothers and sisters in blue but uf they come to get my guns for that reason there's going be a lot of dead people probably me included for a stupid reason i know this is long but what do ya'll think if this red flag ??

Sailor
Sailor

Great responses to these proposed laws. Hope this attitude and behavior spreads among all law enforcement agencies as it is blatantly unconstitutional.

Inquirer63
Inquirer63

The “deep” problem is that our public servants representatives (Senators & Representatives), in many cases, have come to regard themselves as our “rulers.” This is precisely what, in effect, the U.S. Constitution prohibits.

CrimeDoc
CrimeDoc

In 1776 the British demanded we surrender our weapons...it didn’t turn out so well for the British.

javaguy
javaguy

Keep pushing money away from your state. I am only one person. I take a road trip every summer and avoid states like this. Those legislators are sending money to businesses in other states. How many others do the same as me?

Pennymae
Pennymae

Thank you sirs. You are truly protecting the Constitution. I just wish more citizens would actually vote in people who wouldn't do the same. Instead they are stupidly voting in their own destruction and trying to take the rest of us with them. So happy to see more and more law enforcement standing with the Constitution and the people.

snafu
snafu

To all law enforcement personnel, there are 900 open positions in WA State. Come out and apply.

kgolfinghawaii
kgolfinghawaii

If the police and sheriffs refuse to enforce this crap what are the demoncrat pussies doing to do? Come enforce it themselves? Sure they are. Just like judges that go against the Constitution and other laws as written, let them enforce it themselves. See how well that works out. If all officers and deputies refused to enforce these illegal laws what would happen? They can't fire them all. If they did they, politicians, would be the next ones attacked for sure. I am not threatening just making a common sense conclusion.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Would be nice to see some more action at the federal level. Maybe during the first Warren administration.

Chief Deputy
Chief Deputy

This country is turning into a tyrany state fast. Democrats wants to be the only ones running our country. The next fight will be who will be THE KING

Old Sniper
Old Sniper

The premise of the article is correct. Not only are such laws in direct violation of Amendments 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7, they also violate Article 1, section 9, para 3: No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. - forbidding "ex post facto" laws basically means "if it was legal yesterday, it will remain legal today"

People that are "pushed too far" will NOT comply, and when weapons are involved, death is the result. So far, the only MD death was a 60-year old victim. It is only a matter of time before LEOs start dropping, too. Once THAT happens, it will turn into a Civil War, as all Red Flag visits are Stone-like invasions and all people so served take down as many as they can before dying. Get rid of ALL "red flag" before that happens. Please.