Janesville49.7°

Former sheriff advocates for states’ rights, Constitution

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Catherine W. Idzerda
August 24, 2010
— Richard Mack believes that politics as usual will ruin the country.

That’s a pretty common belief among ordinary citizens of all political stripes.


But Mack takes it even further—he believes that virtually all elected officials are no longer following the oath they took when they entered office: to uphold, defend and protect the U.S. Constitution.


On Monday night, Mack was in Janesville to speak about the duties of sheriffs’ and other law enforcement officials, states’ rights and the intrusion of government into everything from gun control to raw milk sales.


Mack opened the meeting by asking a pastor in the audience to say a prayer.


“I like to open meetings like this because I believe if we’re going to take back the country, we have to acknowledge the hand that gave it to us,” Mack said to the cheers and applause from the audience of about 60 people.


Monday’s meeting was sponsored by the Rock County Voter Education Forum, a group that formed during Ron Paul’s presidential candidacy, explained Georgia Janisch, member.


After Paul’s candidacy, many of the members continued to meet, networking with other like-minded groups throughout the state.


The group also sponsored a 4 p.m. meeting between Mack and sworn law enforcement officials. One police officer and Gary Keller, who is running for Rock County sheriff, attended the meeting, Mack said.


Rock County Sheriff’s Office Cmdr. Troy J. Knudson said, “The sheriff’s office considers it to political in nature, and, as such, it is not appropriate to comment on or attend this function.”


Mack made a name for himself when, as sheriff of Graham County, Ariz., he challenged the Brady Bill. The bill would have required law enforcement officials to do background checks on people who wanted to buy a gun.


In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the law violated the 10th Amendment to the Constitution that covers states rights.


Mack recalled what the lawyers from the National Rifle Association told him when he was first pursuing the lawsuit against the federal government.


“The federal government can’t tell you what to do; they have no jurisdiction,” Mack said.


That idea drives all of his political views. It was the states—the people—that formed the federal government, not the other way around, he said.


At the local level, the sheriffs should be in charge of upholding the Constitution, even if that means challenging the federal government, he said.


In television interviews, Mack has said that government agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Health and Safety Administration and other government regulatory agencies cannot and should not tell states what to do.


Those agencies amount to an affront to the sovereignty of the Constitution, Mack believes.


“If God doesn’t strike Washington, D.C., he owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology,” Mack said.


He said the government doesn’t have any business in controlling the sale of guns—or unpasteurized milk—a statement that met with applause and approval from the audience.


In May, Gov. Jim Doyle vetoed legislation that would allow farmers to sell unpasteurized milk—often called “raw milk”—directly to consumers.



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