Why So Many Police Chiefs Favor Gun Control When Most Sheriffs Don’t
This contains some concepts that many folks haven’t considered. Note, there is no intent to side with or against the police, advancing excuses for them, or to give an appearance of picking on them.
Seventeen police chiefs and sheriffs from around the country were interviewed. The quotes below are from those conversations (emails and phone) but have not provided the source of any particular quotes and that is fair since these were not “on the record” news interviews, just their thoughts and opinions. So, as Joe Friday said, “just the facts ma'am.”
When it comes to various politicians and others speaking against gun ownership (the Second Amendment and Constitution by definition) politicians will many times cite city and state police chiefs who allegedly may support the anti-gun movement. These politicians may have police chiefs and their officers appear with them as props or spokesmen in news conferences. So the logical question to ask is why are these top cops so seemingly against firearm ownership?
Chiefs are at the beck and call of their political bosses, mayors, and city councils. “We chiefs get our opinion on firearm ownership when it is issued to us,” as one chief was quoted.
An interviewed sheriff said, “There is an active debate between sheriffs and chiefs that is affected by the big city chief culture because chiefs tend to emulate each other.”
For our purpose here let’s just deal with city police, not state or national officials. If city politicians are against gun ownership (Chicago, Washington D.C, San Francisco, and New York for example) and the chief doesn’t agree he/she can (and probably will) be fired or demoted by the mayor or possibly by a simple majority of the City Council. In most towns with more than a 50,000 population chiefs generally get paid between $80,000 and $150,000 a year plus benefits and retirement. Large city chiefs get well over $200,000 plus benefits, retirement and every once in a while you run into a chief earning well over $300,000.00 plus benefits. They want to hang onto that chief position, title, and income.
This is why you see chiefs and their officers in the background when privileged officials posture against citizen firearm ownership and the Constitution by definition. Sure, some chiefs may believe in citizen gun control and may be willing as a backdrop for self-serving politicians - especially if they were appointed by those in power at the time. So whenever a mayor, senator, representative, or president wants a show of “top cops” showing support, a message is delivered to the particular city where the top officials are anti-Second Amendment requesting them as props. The chiefs and officers are obediently delivered as props or advised to get their résumé updated.
Sheriffs are by and large a different breed. They are elected by the people with a larger proportional number of citizens than city officials. The sheriff does not have to please a few city council members, nor a goofy mayor or governor. Sheriffs represent the beliefs and values of the majority of the area of his or her citizens who directly voted them into office. Yes, there will be sheriffs who do not want guns in the hands of citizens, but nothing like the number of police chiefs who realize being openly pro-gun might be a career-ending position by the chief culture and the politicians that appoint them.
And most sheriffs take their Oath supporting the Constitution very seriously. And while they currently follow and enforce Constitutional applicable federal, state, and county laws they reserve the power invested in their oath and position as elected officers of their county to resist or not to enforce Constitutional infringing law if or when that might come. If that were to occur, the state police and/or federal government may be ordered to step into that particular sheriff’s county to enforce those particular unconstitutional laws. The ramifications of those legal incursions might be very interesting to watch, especially if that particular sheriff is actively supported by the citizens of that county.
The bottom line is city, state, and even federal chiefs will almost always bend to the will of their political masters. This might be something to consider in various press conferences with police officers (very likely selected chiefs) in the background.