South Carolina sheriff says he won’t enforce gun laws he deems ‘unconstitutional’

Photo: Post and Courier

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon says he won’t enforce gun laws he finds “unconstitutional” at a press conference held this morning.

“I’m required to have this press conference cause I believe in my heart that there are those who have an agenda that is aimed at firearms and eliminating firearms and they are taking advantage of the broken heart that each of us has over this tragedy in Connecticut to push their agenda,” Cannon said.

Cannon said reports that an assault weapons ban similar to the one that expired several years ago would not protect children. It would instead, Cannon said, spawn a different kind of criminal.

“We were told two pistols were found near or around the shooter. We’ve since been told there were four handguns. One of the problems that occurs when incidents like this happen is the misinformation which given out initially by the news media,” Cannon said. “Columbine a perfect example. Columbine was a bombing incident except it didn’t go off. It was not a firearm incident. There was also a school resource officer on grounds at Columbine.”

Cannon equated the current gun control debate to blaming forks for obesity and a movement starting to limit the number of tines on a fork to offset obesity.

So, what do you think? Is it all right for a law enforcement official to say he won’t enforce laws?

Some people have called for Cannon’s resignation, creating a petition to gain traction for the effort. If you agree this sheriff ought to resign, you can sign the petition here.


UPDATE 1/20/13:

Below is a message that Al Cannon, Charleston County Sheriff asked us to pass along in response to the petition “Sheriff Al Cannon should resign” (, which you signed. This message was sent through the system, and your email address has NOT been shared with the sender.


Go to for the video of the entire press conference to see if reports are a fair representation of what I said.  Sheriff Al Cannon


  • Paul Zink

    Well after all, this Sheriff is in the South, where federal laws are ignored if inconvenient.

  • Jim Dumas

    I don’t think the region has anything to do with it. IMO, you got people behind the scenes pulling the strings and pushing the buttons,to get things stirred up. In this case, he’s swore to up hold the LAW…if he can’t do that, he needs to become a rent-a-cop somewhere. Might get a job with Beck.

  • Sky Stevens

    it is unconstitutional !!!! doesn’t anyone care that we have a constitution, and we don’t have a king, we have a president.

    • Gabe Mason

      I don’t believe that there is a movement to take away ALL guns. I DO believe that the average ,law abiding citizen CAN NOT justify the need for an assault weapon. You can’t hunt with them so what else do you need one for. We fight wars on enemy ground. I can stop any home invader with a simple 12 ga. shotgun.

    • Matthew J Bailey

      What, exactly, is unconstitutional? The laws that haven’t been passed yet (if ever) or the executive orders that in no way bar a law-abiding citizen from owning a gun? Just curious what imaginary aspect of this fictitious tyranny you’re wetting your panties over…

  • anonymous

    If Cannon cannot or will not uphold the law then he needs to lay down his authority and .resign. Uphold or lay down. His opinion of the law should not adjust his enforcement of the law.

  • Ernie Lederman

    “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance

    thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United

    States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be

    bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary

    notwithstanding.” — Constitution of the United States, Article VI, paragraph 2. Known as the Supremacy Clause

  • Penny Heist

    I think people should wait and see just what the law comes out as in its final form before they go jumping off the cliff. Yes, there should be background checks; no, people don’t need military weapons; yes, every homeowner should have a gun to protect them and theirs because when seconds count, the police are only minutes away, sometimes many minutes.

    • Matthew J Bailey

      Wait? Are you kidding? If the NRA waits, or, I don’t know, forms a rational and intelligent response to help actually form solid and proactive policy…how will they stir up the fear needed to boost sales for the gun industry? The right-wing fear mongers don’t want good policy…they want the illusion of “tyranny” so their sheep will do a payday loan and race bleating to the gun store to get more ammo before Obummer comes to take it all away in a black helicopter as part of his plot to impose Sharia Law on those poor, poor patriots.

  • Matthew J Bailey

    So when did Sheriff’s obtain the right to judge constitutional law? I must have missed that day in civics. Must have been the same day they removed the words “well regulated” from the 2nd Amendment.

  • SaltyDawg

    Cannon is a misinformed and ignorant moron. Sheriff’s don’t get to decide whether a law is constitutional. In no way was the carnage at Columbine the result of a bomb. I wonder how he’d feel if a couple of bank robbers killed and wounded his deputies in a standoff where they outgunned the deputies (as happened in California not long ago).

  • Walter Ali

    Hmmmm. another constitutional scholar from The University of Bubba.

  • Richard Knarr

    obama won’t let state and local law enforcement enforce federal immigration laws and all you anti gun bobble headed sheep support this, you can’t have it both ways. The majority of anti gun supporters believe in abortion,are against the death penalty, support trying to rehabilitate murderers, rapist and child molesters and releasing them back into society, where the majority go out and re-offend. The majority of gun violence is committed by minorities invoved in criminal activity, armed robbery, rape and drug dealing they are crimes of lust and greed,jealousy and ignorance. The handful of the types of shootings like the one in newtown were committed by mentally ill white men.And in most crimes committed by a criminal using a gun the individual is a convicted felon banned from gun ownership

  • Brandy Harlan

    The constitution is a wonderful document that double backs on its self. with the approval of a state into the union the state also creates it’s own constitution. This is yet another process that checks the power of the United State’s constitution. it is therefore the duty of the sheriff to make decisions based on his state’s constitution and the United State’s constitution. You must remember a sheriff is elected, is a government official and is obligated to serve both of his constitutions. if his constituents don’t like the way he is running things they will vote him out.

  • Brandy Harlan

    *sorry for the bad capitalization, the site is super slow on my mobile.