His personal interpretation of the Constitution notwithstanding, Warren is way out of step with his peers when it comes to gun safety.
The National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, comprised of nine major professional police organizations, is calling on the president and Congress to:
n Require background checks for all firearm purchasers.
n Improve background checks by ensuring that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System be complete and accurate.
n Ban new semi-automatic assault weapons.
n Limit high-capacity ammunition magazines to ten rounds.
Unlike his law enforcement brethren, Warren sees politics, not public safety at work.
“It is profoundly disappointing that many prominent leaders in our country have chosen to capitalize on the horrendous murder of innocent children to advance their political agenda,” Warren lamented while advancing his own political agenda. “Clearly this rush to implement new gun control regulations has been undertaken as a matter of political expediency.”
So rather than be part of the gun violence solution, Sheriff Warren offers us his sociological assessment.
“Guns are not the problem,” Warren absurdly pronounced. “The real problem facing society is the erosion of family and moral structure that in turn leads to increased criminal activity — with or without guns.”
The trouble with that theory is that Adam Lanza, the Newtown maniac, grew up in an affluent suburban home with a doting gun enthusiast mother who, tragically, left her assault rifle and high capacity magazines lying around the house.
James Holmes was raised in a two-parent, church-going household. Despite concerns about his mental health, Holmes had no difficulty buying the M&P 15 semi-automatic assault rifle police say he used to slaughter 12 people and wound 58 others in an Aurora, Colo., theater last July.
To further make his flawed case, Warren presents the 2004 District of Columbia v Heller case in which the Supreme Court affirmed the right to possess firearms.
“I believe this decision must be carefully considered before Congress or any other legislative body attempts to limit any rights of law abiding citizens to purchase and possess firearms,” opined the sheriff.
Warren should have kept reading the decision. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, said, “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill.” Scalia added the high court had no problem with “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
Warren promises to “immediately challenge and seek injunctive relief from any statute or executive action which violates the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the citizens of Cobb County.”
But Larry Amerson, president of the National Sheriff’s Association, advises his membership of 3,000 elected sheriffs — and presumably that includes Warren — to enforce the law and leave its interpretation to the experts.
“Individual sheriffs,” Amerson recently wrote, “should not fall into the mythology that any ‘oath of office’ taken by (the) sheriff conveys … any extraordinary powers or duties. ... Furthermore, a sheriff should always perform his or her duties in accordance with the Constitution of the United States as interpreted by the United States Supreme Court.”
In the six weeks since the Newtown atrocity, there have been more than 1,400 gun deaths in America, an average of 33 every day.
Warren’s defiance and denials will be applauded by some voters, but the sheriff’s attitude also places the rest of us in danger.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.