U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Cascade County, Mont. Sheriff Jesse Slaughter calls himself a “constitutional conservative,” and he left no mystery about his position on the subject of Second Amendment rights when he appeared as one of two keynoters at the Montana Shooting Sports Association’s banquet in Missoula over the weekend.
The event was held at the Hilton Garden Inn hotel, where there was an abundance of blue jeans, western boots, cowboy hats and Big Sky patriotism. There were drawings for ammunition and a couple of firearms. The event was co-sponsored by the Western Montana Fish and Game Association, Second Amendment Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Gun Owners of America.
In a follow-up interview with AMMOLAND, Sheriff Slaughter reiterated what he told the audience of about 300 people at the banquet: “The Second Amendment is not about sport and hunting, it’s about protecting our rights.”
Slaughter, up for re-election this year, told MSSA members, “I’ve been pro-Second Amendment my entire life.”
A Montana native and the son of former Gallatin County Sheriff Bill Slaughter, Jesse Slaughter has been endorsed by MSSA, whose president, Gary Marbut, told the lawman in a letter, “you are clearly the best candidate in your contest to represent gun owners and hunters in Cascade County in the critical position of Sheriff.”
The banquet actually honored Marbut, who has spent the past four decades fighting for Montana gun rights. According to Randy Pinocci, a member of the Montana Public Service Commission, under Marbut’s leadership, MSSA has championed and passed more pro-gun legislation over the past 40 years than any other organization in the country.
Slaughter made news last year when he switched political affiliations from Democrat to Republican. He observed, “In almost 90 years, they haven’t a Republican in Cascade County.” At the time he switched parties, he told the Great Falls Tribune that the party leadership had lost touch with its constituency.
“The party leadership is failing the party,” Slaughter said in remarks quoted by the newspaper. “The Democrats in Cascade County; the people that work every day … they don’t think this radically. They don’t think that we need to confiscate guns from people. They believe in the Constitution and they know it’s there to protect them and help them. They don’t believe it should be in any way taken away from anybody.”
Slaughter told AMMOLAND it was only after the party switch that he was criticized for his opinions about constitutional rights and responsibilities.
“Democrats didn’t say a word about it until I switched parties,” he recalled.
He’s been targeted by a group called the Montana Human Rights Action Network for being part of a “constitutional sheriff’s” movement, calling them “militia mouthpieces.” Slaughter laughed it off, noting via telephone that militias are specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
The group issued a report recently titled “Slaughtering the Constitution: Cascade County Sheriff Embraces Sheriff Supremacy.” The announcement of this report on the group’s Facebook page brought a bristling reaction from one person, who wrote, “You guys are modern-day communists. How dare you boot Montana Representatives from your zoom meeting. Shameful extremists that you are.”
Sheriff Slaughter confirmed he supports legislation that would protect the authority of sheriffs as the chief law enforcement officer in the county.
As explained by Marbut, legislation will be pursued “to secure the office of sheriff in the constitution and prohibit the erosion of any authority of that office by any means including cooperative agreements with federal authorities and any transfer of powers to a ‘state police.’”
That effort is on MSSA’s “wish list” for the next session of the Legislature.
In his banquet remarks, which brought repeated appreciation from the audience, Slaughter told them, “We work for you.”
He said the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic actually had a positive effect because it forced the Left to “show their hand.”
“We have to fight for our Second Amendment rights,” Slaughter stressed.
Slaughter is being challenged by one of his own troops, Cpl. Jay Croskreutz. Both are running as Republicans, and Slaughter chuckled that Democrats could not find anyone in their own party to run.
Groskreutz has some 20 years of experience in law enforcement, and according to the Great Falls Tribune, he has worked “in differing roles within the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office.”
The primary election is June 7.
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