Sheriff Mack: Sheriffs, Take Back our Republic

by Anne Wilder Chamberlain

Richard Mack, former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona, and author of several publications including From my Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns, is on a national tour to halt violations of the U.S. Constitution. He is charismatic, focused, and his principles are clear: Let the people govern themselves in their own communities. He said the message of the people is the same everywhere. They want to be left alone and get their freedom and Constitution back.
Mack gained distinction by being the first sheriff in the nation to sue the Clinton administration. In 1993, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (known as the Brady Bill), which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and went into effect on February 28, 1994. A provision of the Brady Bill compelled state and local law-enforcement officials to perform mandatory background checks on gun owners. Mack, an Arizona sheriff at the time, filed a lawsuit that went all the way to the US Supreme Court, which ruled that the provision was unconstitutional as a violation of the Tenth Amendment principles of federalism. It was a landmark decision on the issue of states’ rights. That ruling, which reinforces the fact that the Federal Government cannot force its programs on the States, has been virtually hidden from the public by the media. Mack believes the people must know about it.
In retrospect, Mack says he wishes he had done things differently. “I wish I had never filed it. The most effective and inexpensive measure that should have been taken was for all the sheriffs of Arizona to simply send the Brady Bill back to Congress with a cc. to the White House and with a strongly worded explanation as to why the Brady Bill, or 20 more just like it, would have no place in Arizona,” he stated in an interview with The New American (Krey 9/30/09). Mack suggested that a non-complying county sheriff would be a much more efficient and effective way to restore constitutional governance to the land of the free than endless legal challenges in federal courts filled with politically appointed lawyers.
For Mack’s latest effort to stand up for the Constitution, he has written a 50-page booklet entitled The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope ($8.00 at, in which he explains the proper role of law enforcement, as well as how the local sheriff can be the last line of defense for the U.S. Constitution. On the website, donations purchase copies of the book for every sheriff in every state. Mack argues that real change is not going to come from Washington, D.C., but from local county sheriffs who stand up and stop being pawns in the federal government’s unconstitutional schemes.
At his November 11th event in Post Falls, ID, sponsored by the Constitution Party of Washington and the Friends of Liberty Coalition, Mack joined legislators from Idaho and Washington to speak about what can be done at the local level.
Republican Idaho State Representative Phil Hart listed solutions that included elimination of the Fed and income tax; tariffs on imports; putting God back into our schools; a state resolution accepting Idaho-processed silver for payment of taxes; a state constitutional amendment limiting the power of state government to that enumerated in the Constitution; and the formation of the Liberty Pocket – six states adopting the Montana Gun Bill, a state nullification bill (one that nullifies within the state a federal law the state finds unconstitutional). Montana has declared that federal gun laws are invalid in the state of Montana on guns made in the state of Montana, used exclusively in the state of Montana, and never transported across state lines. According to, if an emerging consensus should arise with several states adopting similar laws, it could overturn the expansion of the Interstate Commerce clause, severely tying the hands of Congress and the executive branch. The federal government’s interpretation of the Interstate Commerce clause currently allows it to interfere in affairs constitutionally left to the states, ranging from regulation of guns to what a farmer can grow on his farm for personal consumption.
Republican Matt Shea, the Washington State Representative who sponsored HJM 4009, Washington’s Tenth Amendment State Sovereignty bill, also spoke. He stated that he is introducing bills in Washington to nullify unconstitutional congressional Acts should they pass, including: the National Health Care System, Cap and Trade, and the tracking of guns and ammunition. He also is introducing sound money bills requiring the federal government to tender payment to the state in gold and silver, and placing into legislation “Sheriff First” laws that will allow local sheriffs to arrest and detain anyone that enters the state to enforce unconstitutional laws, including IRS agents.
Sheriff Mack stated that sheriffs from all over the country have voiced overwhelming support and are getting on board. He highlighted an incident in Nevada, where the local sheriff told federal agents that if they tried to confiscate cattle from a local rancher, he would arrest them. The feds backed down and the cattle remained.
Mack asserted that federal legislation is entirely meaningless and has no way of being enforced, according to Article 2, Sec. 8 of the Constitution, unless the county sheriff enforces it. He said that the worst that can happen if the sheriff refuses, is that the state will lose out on federal funding. Not a problem, he said, “The state just replies, ‘That’s okay, because we’re not going to send you any more money either.’”
Sheriff Mack is an Oath-keeper (see March 2009 edition of The Idaho Observer or Rep. Shea said, “We would not be here if politicians kept their oath to protect the Constitution.”
“Tyrants never give up their power willingly,” Mack said. “Just because legislators violate the Constitution doesn’t mean we have to. For the tyrant to win, the only thing that has to happen is for the nation’s police to be convinced that all laws must be enforced.”