CANTON, Ga. -- Cherokee County Sheriff Roger Garrison has issued a public vow to decline to enforce any new gun law that he thinks violates the second amendment of the Constitution.
Garrison says he's a strong supporter of the second amendment. He issued a letter saying in part "I will not enforce any laws or regulations that negate the Constitutional rights of the citizens of Cherokee County.... nor will I permit the enforcement of any unconstitutional regulations or orders by federal officers within the borders of Cherokee County, Georgia."
Cherokee County Tea Party activist Jack Staver cheered Garrison: "If it infringes on the Constitution of the United States, it's his responsibility to protect the Constitution." Staver went on to say that it makes sense for a county sheriff to decide which laws are constitutional and enforceable "if the guy's got his head screwed on straight." Staver says Garrison fits into that category.
Former DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Keegan Federal disagrees. "No. It's not the sheriff's duty at all to interpret the Constitution. That's the sole duty of the federal courts," Federal said. He says Sheriff Garrison is risking sending a dangerous law enforcement message.
"For the public to start thinking, if the sheriff can do it, then why can't we all do it? If we don't agree with a particular law, why can't we just disobey it? And that, I think, is an outrageous and dangerous situation," Federal said.
Sheriff Garrison declined an interview request, saying his written statement speaks for itself.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry told 11Alive News that he's also a strong supporter of the second amendment. Though Berry thinks the federal government may be overreaching with new gun regulations, he says he hasn't taken the step Garrison has taken.