CNN lets South Carolina pro-gun sheriff explain himself

January 25, 2013
close-up of a handgun
(Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, Al Cannon, the sheriff of Charleston County, S.C., declared on Thursday that he’ll disregard proposed gun restrictions that he considers unconstitutional.

In a discussion with Cannon, CNN’s Carol Costello cites something of a problem with that: “Law enforcement, you sir, are responsible for enforcing laws, not for determining whether the laws are constitutional.”

Cannon came back with something of an equivocation: “That’s not exactly right,” he said, noting that police officers have to use their discretion regarding probable cause and the like every single day.

“As a law enforcement officer, and we have an obligation, although it rarely comes into play, but we have an obligation to … enforce lawful laws, if you will. Constitutional laws. It’s very similar to the responsibility that a military member has on the one hand, obey orders but he’s obligated not to follow unlawful orders. And it’s left up to the individual to make that decision,” said Cannon.

Costello allowed Cannon all the time he needed to lay out his doctrine, which was a good strategy. She needn’t have exerted herself shouting down this brand of nonsense. It’s self-rebutting.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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Erik Wemple | January 25, 2013