In particular, Mack shared three instances that occurred in his life that eventually led him to pursue a path defending the Constitution. The first instance was when he met his wife Dawn, who was brought up in a "very constitutional" home. "They studied the Constitution together as a family. It was part of their family conversations at dinner and I had to catch up," Mack said.
The former Graham County sheriff admitted that he knew very little about the Constitution, thus he had to catch up with his in-laws. But despite this difficulty, he did not regret the experience. "[If] I had not been in that home, I would not have learned about the Constitution," he told Bushman.
Another miracle he cited came while he was an officer at the Provo Police Department in Utah. The department hired Mack as a full-time officer in 1979. Three years later in 1982, he served a stint as an undercover narcotics officer – something he described as life-changing. "The clean-cut undercover officers were much more reliable than those who … drink, smoke and party," he said of the experience.
Mack returned to patrol duty after his stint in the narcotics division. The department's numbers-oriented approach caused him to become disillusioned as it turned policing into a race to reach targets instead of a duty to uphold public safety. He realized his mistake one day while writing a violation ticket for a lady, believing that he could have handled it differently. "I was so discouraged and ashamed of what I've become, just a ticket writing numbers guy without feeling," Mack said.
The next day, he visited the office of the Provo city clerk and asked for a copy of the oath he swore to uphold. He reviewed the oaths and came upon a realization. "Article Six of the U.S. Constitution requires each of us in public service at federal, state and local levels to swear an oath to the Constitution. The Founding Fathers put that in … so that we would perpetuate liberty," Mack told Bushman.
The sheriff wanted to quit his law enforcement job as he saw "no resemblance of the Constitution" in the things they did in the police department. However, a training facilitated by conservative author and professor W. Cleon Skousen served as the third "miracle" he encountered. According to Mack, Skousen's two-day training on the Constitution for law enforcement officers "totally converted [him] to the Constitution."
Mack continued: "I was totally convinced, and I took another oath while I was sitting there [and] listening to this great man. I swore to myself and to God that I would never be on the wrong side again." With that oath, he dedicated himself to upholding the Constitution. Mack left the police force, ran for sheriff in his hometown of Arizona and won.
The sheriff's dedication to the Constitution later came into play when he joined other plaintiffs in challenging the Brady Act. Alongside lawyers representing the National Rifle Association, they argued that it was unconstitutional for the federal government to mandate local sheriffs to conduct background checks on Americans purchasing firearms.
The legal challenge by Mack and the other plaintiffs made it to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1997, the highest court of the land ruled in favor of Mack and his fellow plaintiffs. The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the Brady Act's questionable provision was indeed unconstitutional.
Mack served as Graham County sheriff from 1988 to 1997. When his tenure as sheriff ended, he established the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), which aimed to educate Americans on the Constitution. The group also sought to educate sheriffs and officers of the peace regarding the limitations of their powers.
The sheriff concluded his interview with Bushman by saying: "If we get just a third of the [more than 3,000] sheriffs [in the U.S.] to one simple thing – keep their oath of office – we take back America tomorrow, county by county, one good sheriff at a time."
Liberty.news has more articles about Richard Mack and other sheriffs that uphold the Constitution.