ELKHART — Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers remains steadfast in his views about guns following his appearance on a national television program dedicated to the issue.
Rogers opposes strict gun controls and thinks the feds and state government are limited in what they can do to hamper gun ownership. He voiced those views on a CNN program that aired Thursday night, “Anderson Cooper 360,” and stood by them Friday after returning from the taping of the show in Washington, D.C.
“More gun control (leads to) less rights that people have to defend themselves, more that criminals will be ruling the roost with their lawlessness with no fear of repercussions,” Rogers said in an email Friday.
In Thursday’s program, a town hall-style gathering at George Washington University dubbed “Guns Under Fire,” Rogers was called on briefly to comment by program moderator Anderson Cooper. Rogers had been invited to take part in the show and CNN flew him to Washington, D.C., to provide a pro-gun rights stance.
Citing Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the Elkhart County sheriff told Cooper that he didn’t think the federal government has the right to implement gun controls. Even the state faces limitations, he said.
“In Article 1, Section 32 (of the Indiana Constitution), it says, that people shall have a right to arm themselves to defend themselves and the state,” said Rogers, according to the transcript of the program. “So, you know, even if this — you know, even if it’s taken up by the state, they are restricted usually by their own constitution.”
CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin countered, saying the federal government does, in fact, have authority to engage in gun control.
“The question is, what can they ban? They cannot ban handguns. We know that from the Supreme Court,” Toobin said, according to the transcript. “But can they ban assault weapons? Can they ban tanks? Can they ban stinger missiles? You bet they can.”
NO COST TO COUNTY
In his email Friday, Rogers lamented that he didn’t have time to counter Toobin. “I didn’t have time, nor was I able to rebut the counter. I believe they figured what I was (going to) say and had their counter,” he wrote.
CNN had initially contacted a sheriff in Oregon, a fellow member of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a group that decries overreach by the federal government. The Oregon official, an acquaintance, couldn’t take part and pointed CNN toward Rogers, Rogers said.
CNN covered the cost of flying Rogers to Washington, D.C., Rogers said. No county money was spent to get him to or from the capital.
In related news, Rogers was touted by the CSPOA in a posting on its website Friday for opposing what it said were President Obama’s “unlawful gun control measures.” Rogers was among 242 sheriffs and five state sheriffs associations from across the nation cited by the CSPOA.
“Sheriffs have risen up all over our great nation to stand up against the unconstitutional gun control measures being taken,” said the post by the CSPOA, headed by Richard Mack. It later continued: “I applaud these public servants for their courage and conviction.”