HUNTSVILLE, Ala.(WHNT) - A sweeping set of gun control proposals laid out by President Obama on Wednesday is adding more fuel to a growing national debate, and one local lawman is raising concerns that the proposed legislation is unconstitutional.
Madison County Sheriff Blake Dorning told WHNT News 19 that his office will not enforce new gun control legislation if he feels those laws violate the Second Amendment. Dorning said he has serious doubts about President Obama's latest proposals, stating that any gun laws which do pass would have to be in line with the U.S. Constitution and Alabama state law in order to be enforceable.
"The federal authorities can try to enforce it," said Dorning. "I'm the Sheriff of Madison County. I took a constitutional oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, to defend the Constitution of the State of Alabama, even if it takes my life. That is my position."
Sheriff Dorning is the latest in a chorus of lawmen from across America who are saying they may not enforce new gun control legislation. President Obama's call for a new assault weapons ban and 10-round magazine limit were the headlines in what some say are the most stringent gun control measures ever. The President cannot get the two major revisions unless Congress signs off, but Sheriff Dorning said even if they do, Washington is not his final authority.
"As long as you are a law-abiding citizen, then I don't see a problem with law-abiding citizens being able to arm themselves however they so choose," said Dorning, who pledged to ignore any law that would call for the confiscation of assault weapons or any other firearm. "Our people in our communities and homes need not fear that the Sheriff of Madison County or his deputies would come to their homes and make an attempt to disarm them. It will not happen under my watch."
Sheriffs in Kentucky, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas have also spoken out against President Obama's gun control measures, but how the final legislation will actually be worded remains to be seen. Dorning said his office has received roughly four times the normal daily amount of concealed carry permit applications since December.