The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is targeting Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis, actively campaigning to have the pro-gun law enforcement officer lose his teaching certification for comments he made about the Second Amendment.
Back in August, Sheriff Lewis emphatically voiced his opposition to Maryland’s new gun law and attempts by the federal government to roll back the right to keep and bear arms.
“As long as I’m the sheriff in this county,” he said in a video posted on Youtube, “I will not allow the federal government to come in here and strip my citizens of their right to bear arms. I can tell you this, if they attempt to do that, it would be an all-out civil war, no question about it.”
Well, CSGV took umbrage with the “civil war” aspect of the Sheriff’s comment and on Tuesday launched the “Tell the Maryland Police Training Commission: Revoke Mike Lewis’ Certification” campaign.
Ladd Everitt, communications director of CSGV, argued that “insurrectionist” language should not be tolerated in a public servant.
“When you employ violence against your government essentially to effect policy decisions, you are damaging the principle of political equality,” Everitt told DelmarvaNow.
“That’s the behavior of a thug, not a citizen in a democracy,” Everitt added.
CSGV website reads, in part, “It is difficult to see how a law enforcement officer who is threatening to wage war with the United States government meets any recognized standards of public service. In the wake of his threatening comments, Sheriff Lewis should not be given the responsibility of training law enforcement officers in Maryland.”
However, Lewis called the effort “ludicrous,” noting that he teaches his students about apprehending and identifying criminals, not about what their views on the Second Amendment should be.
“They’re going to twist and turn this to suit their own special needs,” he said.
For Lewis to lose his certification, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services would have to hold a staff review and evaluate whether the sheriff has violated any commission regulations, according to spokesperson Gerald Shields.
Shields did not say whether a review would be held for Sheriff Lewis.
As of Tuesday, CSGV petition had collected around 1,470 signatures. It’s not clear how many are need to move the needle for a review as anyone can make a request for staff review. But with 30 years of law enforcement under his belt, Lewis doesn’t seem all too concerned either way.
“I will continue to identify and arrest all criminals who are in violation of the law,” he said.