Constitutional Sanctuaries

In an era in which the federal government has identified conservatives as would-be domestic terrorists, many Americans are looking for sanctuaries where their constitutional rights will not be infringed.

Pinal County, Arizona, where Sheriff Mark Lamb has formed a civilian posse to act as a bulwark against tyrannical government encroachments, may be one such place.

In an interview last week, the sheriff said that his goal is to educate residents to be active in their communities “so the government will have a harder time overstepping their bounds.”

When Lamb established the civilian posse in July 2020, the idea was to educate concerned residents about law enforcement and to let them assist deputies during the 2020 riots.

“It’s just an opportunity to get them [residents] to more education,” Lamb said at the time. “They can hopefully squelch some of the frustration that they’re feeling right now in these uncertain times and at the same time get some training.”

Daniel Horowitz had the sheriff on his Conservative Review podcast Friday to discuss how sheriffs’ posses can be a firewall against government tyranny. 

During the interview, Horowitz asked Lamb if he was concerned that many police officers seem to be moving away from doing “what is just and right” toward “following orders no matter what.”

The sheriff said that he “shares that concern” and noted that he has even made videos that explain to officers that they shouldn’t be “afraid to say no.”

“The only way that a tyrannical government can really impose their will is with compliance of multiple law enforcement throughout the country,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to stand up against what you know is wrong and to stand up for the people.”

Pinal County also has a patrol posse that is armed and assists deputies by booking people in jail. Multiple sheriffs’ offices across the country have patrol and civilian posses, including Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone.

Additionally, there are currently 22 states, plus Puerto Rico, that have active organized militias known as State Defense Forces (SDFs), which assist the state National Guard in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.

The State Defense Forces are controlled by the governors, and work as force multipliers for homeland security and civil support operations.

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the reestablishment of the Florida State Guard in December.

“The U.S. military has been kicking out great service members over the Biden administration’s unacceptable COVID vaccine mandate, and they are even targeting members of the National Guard,” said DeSantis. “The bureaucrats in D.C. who control our National Guard have also refused to increase the number of guardsmen despite our increasing population, leaving Florida with the second worst National Guardsman to resident ratio. By reestablishing the Florida State Guard under the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Graham, we have a great opportunity to expand our capability to help people in times of need or disaster.”

DeSantis also recently announced a $6.5 million civil service and government leadership program that will open three “civics academies” located at Broward State College, Florida State College at Jacksonville and Polk State College. DeSantis says the civics lessons will “secure” Florida, and help rein in “woke” ideologies.

In Pinal County, posse members need to complete a four-hour training session that teaches “constitutional law, search and seizure, the use of deadly force and other police tactics.” Applicants have to pass a background check to receive a certificate and ID. Those who attend the training sessions can have a felony on their records as long as they don’t have outstanding warrants, but felons are not allowed to join the posse.

Sheriff Lamb told Horowitz he was concerned to see stories in 2020 about people getting arrested for not wearing a mask or being kicked out of restaurants because they didn’t have a vaccination card.

“Those things to me are very concerning,” he said, noting that when police enforce unjust edicts, it just “perpetuates the problem,” and allows “tyrannical ideas that are contrary to America’s foundation to be pervasive in our society.”

Lamb added that he is a “big believer in focusing on what you have control over.”

The sheriff told Horowitz that when he started the civilian posse in 2020 amid nationwide riots and looting, 3,500 people signed up in less than 2 weeks.

“We had to shut down the portal because we were getting so many people signing up for it,” he said.

Horowitz asked Lamb what would happen if the feds started targeting innocent people in his county for political persecution.

“Where does local law enforcement and perhaps a posse fit in?” the reporter asked.

Lamb said it was important for the sheriffs to put a stop to that.

“You know, your sheriff has the ability to put a stop to that, and at least, protect the people. That’s what my goal is. My goal has always been to protect the people,” he replied. “I didn’t swear an oath to any government organization. I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and the people of the United States.”

He added. “We work for the people and the people alone. I don’t work for the president or the governor. I work for the people of my county—and there’s power in that. I’ve been authorized by them to protect them, and to protect them from overreach.”

The sheriff said while he doesn’t see any immediate danger of feds going door-to-door to arrest innocent people, “history shows you” that it can happen. “If you don’t know history, you’re doomed to repeat it. So we can’t say that’s not possible,” he said.

Lamb told Horowitz that his ultimate goal was to “educate citizens to be active in the communities so the government will have a harder time overstepping their bounds.”

He went on to describe a disturbing interaction he had with “one of the chiefs” during a sheriff’s conference he attended by Zoom a few weeks ago.

Lamb said the individual “started talking about the importance of priorities for DHS,” and how their primary focus should be “domestic violence threats,” like people who question the January 6 narrative, or the 2020 election results.

The sheriff said he told the chief that the people he was describing as potential terrorists were “basically anybody who disagrees with this administration.” Lamb recalled asking him, “what about the 300,000 people crossing across the border every month? The unprecedented amount of fentanyl coming across the border killing 100,000 Americans? How is this not a threat?”

The sheriff went on to argue that the feds can not force him to enforce Joe Biden’s unconstitutional mandates, and if they tried it in his county, “we would stop them because they can’t. They have no jurisdiction.”

He explained how the federal government has been able to get its way all over the country despite not having  jurisdiction.

“What they did was they told local law enforcement, if you don’t do this, if you aren’t in lock-step with us, you’re going to lose your funding. That’s the only way they have local law enforcement over the barrel is over federal funding,” he said.

“I told our county that we have to be prepared to lose federal funding because we’re not going to do what they’re asking us to do. So, we just have to be prepared to lose federal funding and make our budgets work without it,” the sheriff told the host. “Any local law enforcement agency can say, ‘nah, we’re not going to do that,’ and other than losing some federal funding, there’s not much they can do.”

Lamb said he has started a group of sheriffs who stand up for the Constitution and the rule of law, called “Protect America Now.” 

“Not trying to be a partisan thing, we’re just trying to be sheriffs who stand up for what’s right,” Lamb said. “Standing up for the Constitution should not be a political issue.”

There are currently 3,081 sheriffs across the nation.

Lamb said that they’re trying to get “as many sheriffs on board as we can to where we can have the strength in numbers to stand up for what’s right.”

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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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