In the most strident warning over gun control to President Obama yet, the Utah Sheriffs' Association is pledging to go to war over any administration plan to take guns away, even if it means losing their lives.
Calling the Second Amendment a sacred right of citizens to protect themselves from "tyrannical subjugation," the association state elected sheriffs said in a new letter, "we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation."
Theirs is the first meaningful proof that some in law enforcement and the military are preparing to fight federal forces if the president wins his goal of sweeping gun control.
In a direct warning to Obama, the FBI and other agencies, the sheriffs wrote: "Make no mistake, as the duly-elected sheriffs our our respective counties, we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal official will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights--in particular Amendment II--has given them."
While he wants an assault weapons ban and limits on ammo magazines, the president has not yet suggested he wants to confiscate guns.
The association revealed their concerns in a letter to the president just made public. It was sent on January 17. It opens by decrying the recent shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
But the group argued that guns are simply "instruments," and that they are needed by law-abiding citizens to sometimes subdue killers. "The citizenry must continue its ability to keep and bear arms, including arms that adequately protect them from all types of illegality," said the letter.
Several groups have argued that assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are needed for self defense.
The association also called on Obama to push his efforts through Congress, not executive orders with no debate. "Please remember that the Founders of this great nation created the Constitution, and its accompanying Bill of Rights, an effort to protect citizens from all forms of tyrannical subjugation."