• Sheriff Mike Lewis doesn’t agree with governor about firearms
By Pat Shannan
When a Maryland sheriff called a town meeting in mid-March to tell his constituents of his stand against Governor Martin O’Malley’s proposed gun control legislation, not even he expected a turnout of over 500 supporters.
Earlier in the month, Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis had endeared himself to every gun owner in the state by telling the Maryland House of Delegates that Maryland’s lack of vigorous prosecution of gun crimes coupled with O’Malley’s new proposed legislation, gave criminals “tremendous incentive to move to Maryland to resume their criminal activities. Our law-abiding citizens, now discouraged from legally purchasing a firearm due to these proposed hurdles, can only stand by and watch these criminals flourish in their old profession of terrorizing innocent citizens.”
Lewis, the current president of the Maryland Sheriffs Association, called the proposed gun legislation nothing more than a “feel-good” proposal. It does nothing more than impact law-abiding citizens by making it easier for criminals to steal, rob, rape and murder with the illegal weapons they already acquire, he said. Lewis spent 22 years with the Maryland State Police before being elected sheriff in 2007.
Also present to show support for the Second Amendment issue were various elected officials including United States Representative Andy Harris (R-Md.) and other sheriffs and their representatives from around the state. Harris reminded the people of his heritage and the consequences of attempts to strip citizens of their firearms.
“Many of you already know my story,” said Harris. “My parents escaped from communism in Ukraine right after World War II. In communist regimes, the first thing they do is disarm the citizens.”
“I bet the governor can’t get half this many people out to come hear his proposals,” said one attendee. Another facetiously endorsed the registration of “all liberal politicians, prior to each election.”
In pointing out that the gun laws already on the books are not enforced, State Attorney Matt Maciarello gave examples of current cases his office is working on.
“Before I came over here tonight, I looked at some pending cases of burglary, armed robbery, murder and attempted murder,” he said. “Each one involved a gun, but none of those crimes was committed with a legally obtained firearm.”
The state Senate in February passed gun control legislation, 28-19. All the supporters were Democrats and used the normal liberal rhetoric claiming the bill “will save lives,” but the evidence shows that not to be true. Seven Democrats and all 12 Senate Republicans voted against the measure.
Lewis and the Maryland Sheriffs Association have agreed to work with O’Malley on the following issues regarding gun control and public safety: Close background loopholes to keep guns out of dangerous hands; work with prosecutors to vigorously prosecute those who commit crimes with firearms;make schools safer by enhancing security and work with school administrators in planning for critical incidents; and increase access to mental health services for Marylanders.
But the Maryland Sheriffs Association, through its president, has publicly announced that it will not endorse any legislation that attempts to infringe on a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment.
“If we in law enforcement do not uphold the Constitution and the principles of our founding fathers,” wrote Lewis on the Wicomico sheriff’s website, “then we are no different than any other country that enslaves or impoverishes its citizens for their own leaders’ personal wealth and gain.”
It’s worth remembering that the sheriff is the highest-ranking law enforcement official in his county, outranking federal agents who venture into his jurisdiction. As elected law-enforcement officials, sheriffs are beholden to the people, which explains exactly why state and federal authorities have been pushing to neuter them.
Pat Shannan is an AFP contributing editor and the author of several best-selling videos and books.