Updated: December 7, 2011 at 12:00 am
The right to keep and bear arms is a law that cops are paid to defend. The sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado’s most-populous county, encourages law-abiding constituents to obtain concealed carry permits in order to defend themselves, their families and to help discourage crime. Other sheriffs throughout the state have worked hard to uphold our gun rights.
Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Patrick Sullivan was an exception. He spent his career trying to erode the Second Amendment — a foundational law that says the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
Sullivan served as the most formidable foe of gun rights for decades. He rose to national prominence in 1989 when he rescued a wounded deputy during a standoff. Sullivan exploited the incident to promote gun control, holding up a semiautomatic weapon and demanding more gun restrictions. Sullivan used the Columbine tragedy to advocate gun control, even though a few armed teachers could have saved kids that day.
Sullivan is a Republican, which only enhanced the panache of his gray-haired, paternalistic anti-gun work. The National Sheriff’s Association chose him as Sheriff of the Year in 2001, turning the headaches of gun rights defenders into migraines. In 2002, the National Association of School Resource Officers honored this man with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Arapahoe County’s jail bears his name. Sarah Brady, founder of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, frequently called on Sullivan to bolster her gun-ban efforts. David Kopel, a Boulder attorney who’s among the world’s most prominent gun-rights advocates, called Sullivan “the most powerful enemy of the right to bear arms in Colorado” in 1990. Sullivan refused to grant concealed carry permits, forcing the legislature to pass a “shall issue” law.
“Trying to outlaw semi-automatics, he passed out photographs of automatics — weapons that had nothing to do with his bill,” said Kopel, director of research for the Independence Institute, on a 1990 AM radio show. (See Examiner.com citation)
It seemed odd that a beloved top cop was adamantly opposed to the Second Amendment, a law no less crucial to liberty than protection of speech.
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If recent charges against Sullivan prove true, his contempt for gun rights should make more sense. Criminals are people who seek forcible control over others. They abhor gun rights, which empower victims. As most Americans know, Sullivan was booked into the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility on Nov. 29. Detectives with the South Metro Drug Task Force — and from his own former department — claim that he tried to trade methamphetamine for sex with a man. If subsequent public allegations become charges and convictions, Sullivan could join the ranks of the state’s most evil sex-and-drug criminals.
In Sheriff Sullivan, gun-rights advocates had a powerful opponent who appeared to symbolize justice and peace. Today, the man who would disarm citizens lives as a disgraced suspected felon. In a sad way, it makes more sense.
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