A South Carolina sheriff who publicly declared he won’t enforce any new gun safety laws he deems unconstitutional accused Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) on Friday of introducing a “scary” new proposal designed to undermine the Second Amendment.
“I believe that there is a goal to ultimately take as many firearms as possible,” said Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, who admitted to CNN’s Carol Costello that he has not seen the list of firearms covered in Feinstein’s new assault-weapons ban. “The differences between the firearms, more often than not, are cosmetic as to what is an assault weapon, that sort of thing.”
Feinstein’s proposal calls for the renewal of the Brady Bill, which expired in 2004. It also seeks to ban gun magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds, as well as the sale and importation of firearms fitted for detachable magazines.
The bill also exempts more than 2,000 firearm models used for hunting or sports purposes, defined by make and model and not appearance. Gun owners who already own high-capacity weapons would not have to give them up if the proposal becomes law.
However, Cannon said, proposals like Feinstein’s were only taking advantage of a general “lack of information and understanding” about firearms, as well as grief over incidents like the Dec. 14 mass school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
“But here’s the thing,” Costello countered. “Law enforcement — you, sir — are responsible for enforcing laws, not determining whether the laws are constitutional.”
Cannon replied that because he is a lawyer, that is “not exactly true.” He was admitted to the South Carolina state bar association in 1982 and the United States Supreme Court Bar in 2004.
“But you’re also in charge of enforcing the laws on the books,” Costello said.
Cannon also said he would meet with state attorney general Alan Wilson for “guidance” on the issue, but suggested he would also defy Wilson if their findings didn’t agree.
“If you went to the attorney general and he says, ‘Look, you have to follow the law, this is constitutional,’ will you follow the law?” Costello asked.
“Then I’ll probably follow it,” Cannon replied. “But I will look closely at my own understanding of the constitution, my own study, and will put that in the context of what he and others say.”
Last August, Cannon was arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery for allegedly slapping a handcuffed suspect following a car chase.
Watch Costello’s interview with Cannon, in video posted by Mediaite on Friday, below.