There’s no doubt about it, there’s only one Sheriff Mack!
Listen to Mack talk about his run for Congress, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, his lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center and his Supreme Court case, in this lively interview (31:20).
Populist Candidate Sheriff Richard Mack Needs Your Support in Run for Congress
By Dave Gahary
Former Sheriff of Graham County, Arizona Richard I. Mack has decided to throw his hat in the ring and challenge GOP professional politician Lamar S. Smith for Texas’s 21st congressional district. Smith, an attorney by trade, has represented that district since 1987. Though Mack is far behind in the polls, he’s still fighting, and he could use your help.
On April 17, 2012, AMERICAN FREE PRESS conducted an exclusive 45-minute interview with Mack to talk about his run for Congress, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), his lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and his Supreme Court case.
As readers of AFP are no doubt aware, Sheriff Mack is a longtime lawman. He’s been married for 37 years, has five children and eight grandchildren, and number nine on the way.
“I was in law enforcement for 20 years,” explained Mack. “I started my police career in Provo, Utah, with the Provo Police Department. And then, after about 11 years there, I moved home to Arizona to run for sheriff in Safford. That’s where I grew up. I was elected in 1988; stayed there eight years.”
Mack was also the man who sued the Clinton administration on the application of the 1993 Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, commonly referred to as the Brady Bill. Washington officials wanted sheriffs to do their dirty work by forcing the sheriffs to do background checks at their expense on individuals who were trying to buy a handgun. Mack and six other sheriffs fought this, taking the case all the way to the Supreme Court. On June 27, 1997, the high court ruled for Mack.
AFP asked if there was a lot of mainstream media coverage before the decision was announced.
“At first there was, but after the case ended there was nothing after we won,” said Mack. “The only people that did anything were the conservative periodicals [like the now defunct Spotlight]. None of the mainstream quoted anything from the case. And in fact, no one challenged Clinton or Janet Reno when they put out a memo to all the chiefs and sheriffs telling that this case did nothing, the victory was just a token victory for the NRA [National Rifle Association of America], it changed nothing, and everybody should just keep doing what they’re doing.”
AFP asked why he felt mainstream media interest in the case went from relentless coverage to nothing.
“They could not afford to have this truth put out there,” said Mack. “It would have stopped so much of the federal government’s bureaucratic nonsense. It would’ve shut down a lot of the propaganda that the federal government is our boss. And they could not have the states believing that they’re not subject to federal direction, which is exactly what the decision says.”
He continued: “I don’t believe the press and especially the Clinton administration wanted anyone—and the Obama administration now, same thing—they don’t want the states . . . they don’t want anybody to see the truth of this case, and see that the federal government actually is not our boss.”
While working a stint at a car dealership in his hometown of Safford, Arizona, Mack penned a book on his downtime titled The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope, which launched his education career.
Mack founded the CSPOA whose mission is “To educate and equip sheriffs, peace officers and public officials with the necessary information and public support to carry out their duties in accordance with their Oath of Office.” The organization’s first convention was held in Las Vegas this past January and was covered extensively by AFP Contributing Editor Pat Shannan.
“We are going to have our second convention on Constitution Day in Las Vegas,” informed Mack. His populist views have drawn the ire of the SPLC, which said some nasty things about Mack. He’s suing them for libel, slander and defamation.
“They’ve lied about me since I did the lawsuit in 1994, and finally, last year, I had it up to my neck with these guys, and I caught ‘em intentionally lying about me,” said Mack. “They said I advocated violence, which I’ve never done, that I advocated killing federal agents, which I’ve never done. My father was a federal agent. I have friends who are federal agents. But I do advocate a strong, peaceful stand. And I do advocate arresting federal agents if they come into your county and break the law. What’s so bad about that? I believe in upholding the law. I believe in law and order. Just because government officials break the law, they have no license to do that. If they break the law they should be arrested. If they come into your county and break the law the sheriff should take action against them. Yes, I’ve always advocated that. It’s called keeping the peace.”
Even after the SPLC apologized and offered a retraction, the damage was done. “I’ve got lots of people still since then saying, ‘Well, we don’t want to have anything to do with you because you believe in murdering agents and cops,’” said Mack.
“It’s gonna be an amazing case, especially if it gets to trial,” said Mack. “The SPLC will definitely be sorry they ever let it go this far.”
AFP asked why he decided to run for Congress.
“It happened at a Get Out of Our House [GOOOH] meeting,” explained Mack. GOOOH is a non-partisan organization that wants to replace professional politicians in the House of Representatives with citizen representatives.
“Some . . . people asked me to come to a meeting, and it was the only weekend I had available. It turned out that it was a nomination meeting, and I won. I went home and told my wife, I said, ‘I know you’re not gonna like this but, I’m running for U.S. Congress.’ I just couldn’t tell ‘em ‘No.’ I just felt like it was something I was supposed to do. This whole thing was kind of inspired because it happened at the only time I’m not somewhere else speaking.”
AFP asked how people can help get him elected.
“If anybody’s out here in Texas, or if you want to come out here, help with the phones, put your feet on the ground, go door-to-door as we’re going to do here pretty quick, you could email us and we’ll get you on the list,” he said. “I am running for Congress, but my heart is with the solution of the county sheriff stopping the abuses and tyranny of the federal government. They have the authority, they have the responsibility, and they have the duty to do so.”
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.