About 20 Central Valley Tea Party members protested outside The Fresno Bee Friday in response to an editorial critical of sheriffs who have said they intend not to enforce certain laws, especially gun-control measures.
The editorial published Monday noted Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims among a growing number of sheriffs nationally who support the tenets of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that opposes many gun-control measures.
“I love what (Mims) said a while back about the Second Amendment and that she would not enforce those illegal gun laws that the president wants to make law on his own,” said Warren King, 82, of Fresno County. “I greatly admire her for that … I believe their first responsibility is to uphold the Constitution … if they don’t do that, in my opinion, they are breaking the law.”
Monday’s editorial held a different view: When law enforcement officials express disdain for state and federal regulations, they foster contempt for the laws they promise to uphold.
“It is the opinion of The Bee’s Editorial Board that questions of constitutionality should be left to the courts to decide, and that the sheriffs are bound by oath to uphold the laws of their states and the nation,” said Bill McEwen, editorial page editor for The Bee.
“The Fresno Bee Editorial Board encourages the free exchange of opinions, facts and ideas on its opinion and editorial pages, and has published more than 100 letters in 2013 — pro and con — on gun control, and on the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment.”
McEwen said Mims is invited to write an opinion piece for The Bee explaining her position on gun control and her support of the constitutional sheriffs movement.
Many of Friday’s protesters held signs of support for Mims.
“I’m protesting a lot of things,” said protest organizer Dana Westendarp, 47, of Fresno, about many government regulations she opposes. “But today I’m protesting The Bee for throwing the sheriff under the bus with their opinion.”
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