Richard Mack

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Richard Mack
Richard Mack by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Mack in downtown Phoenix, Arizona in January 2011.
Richard Ivan Mack

1952 (age 6667)
Arizona, United States
OccupationAuthor and activist

Richard Ivan Mack (born 1952) is the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona and a political activist. He is known for his role in a successful lawsuit brought against the federal government of the United States which alleged that portions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act violated the United States Constitution. He is a former lobbyist for Gun Owners of America (GOA) and a two-time candidate for United States Congress. Mack is also the founder of Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), and established the "County Sheriff Project" movement, both of whom reaffirm the constitutional power to refuse to enforce federal laws. [1]

Graham County, Arizona County in the United States

Graham County is a county located in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,220, making it the third-least populous county in Arizona. The county seat is Safford.

Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, often referred to as the Brady Act or the Brady Bill, is an Act of the United States Congress that mandated federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States, and imposed a five-day waiting period on purchases, until the NICS system was implemented in 1998.

United States Constitution Supreme law of the United States of America

The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the President ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Articles Four, Five and Six embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article Seven establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.


Mack v. United States

Mack served as Graham County Sheriff from 1988 to 1996. In 1994 he was recruited by the National Rifle Association as a plaintiff in one of nine lawsuits against the Clinton administration over the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

National Rifle Association American nonprofit organization

The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is a U.S. nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights. Founded in 1871, the group has informed its members about firearm-related legislation since 1934, and it has directly lobbied for and against firearms legislation since 1975.

Mack v. United States (later restyled to Printz v. United States ), a lawsuit against the federal government which alleged that portions of the Act violated the United States Constitution, because they comprised a congressional action that compelled state officers to execute Federal law. [2] These portions were interim provisions until a national instant background check system for gun purchasers could be implemented. In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of the Brady Act in question were, in fact, unconstitutional. [3]

Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997), was a United States Supreme Court case in which the Court held that certain interim provisions of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act violated the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Supreme Court of the United States Highest court in the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors. It also has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction. The court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions.

Political views

Mack is involved in the patriot movement through his role in the Oath Keepers organization and as founder of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). [1]

Patriot movement

The patriot movement is a collection of conservative, independent, mostly rural, small government, American nationalist social movements in the United States that include organized militia members, tax protesters, sovereign or state citizens, quasi-Christian apocalypticists/survivalists, and combinations thereof. Adherents describe the movement as centered on a belief that individual liberties are in jeopardy due to unconstitutional actions taken by elected government officials, appointed bureaucrats, and some special interest groups outside of government, to illegally accumulate power. Journalists and researchers have associated the patriot movement with the right-wing militia movement and some in the movement have committed or supported illegal acts of violence. United States law enforcement groups "call them dangerous, delusional and sometimes violent".

Oath Keepers organization

Oath Keepers is an anti-government American far-right organization associated with the patriot and militia movements. The group describes itself as a non-partisan association of current and former military, police, and first responders, who pledge to fulfill the oath that all military and police take in order to "defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic". It encourages members – some of whom are current and former U.S. military and law enforcement officers – not to obey orders which they believe would violate the United States Constitution. The organization claims a membership of 35,000 as of 2016.

Mack opposes all gun control laws, telling the program News21, "I studied what the Founding Fathers meant about the Second Amendment, the right to keep and bear arms, and the conclusion is inescapable. There's no way around it. Gun control in America is against the law." [1]

Oath Keepers and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association

In 2011 Mack founded the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA). The organization has a mission similar to Oath Keepers, encouraging members to refuse to enforce laws that they believe are unconstitutional. [1]

Mack is also on the board of Oath Keepers, a far-right patriot organisation known for its controversial presence during the Ferguson unrest and for supporting Cliven Bundy in his standoff against the federal government. In April, 2014, Mack asserted that as part of the citizen response to the Bundy standoff that the Oath Keepers were "...actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front. If they're gonna start shooting, it's going to be women that are gonna be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers." [4]

The Southern Poverty Law Center included both CSPOA and Oath Keepers on its list of 1,096 anti-government "patriot" groups active in 2013. [1] Mack announced in 2011 that he was initiating a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center for libel, slander, and defamation. [5]

Bundy standoff

Mack was a lead figure in the 2014 Bundy standoff. Part of Mack's involvement was strategizing the standoff; Mack publicly commented that he had made plans to use women and children as human shields by the federal police as part of the group's tactics. [6]

Campaigns for Congress

Mack ran as a Libertarian candidate for United States Senate in Arizona in 2006 against incumbent Jon Kyl, a Republican, but finished in the general election with 3% of the votes.

In 2012, Mack opposed 13-term Representative Lamar Smith, who introduced and sponsored the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act legislation, in the House election Republican primary for Texas's 21st Congressional district. The primary was held on May 29. Mack lost, receiving 14.78% (10,111) of the votes.

Campaign for Navajo County (Arizona) Sheriff 2016

On December 13, 2014, Mack announced his candidacy for Navajo County Sheriff. In his announcement, he said, "We’re gonna make it a constitutional county and show everybody the blueprint for freedom. And there’s a lot more people running for other offices than me. I just said I’d run for sheriff. We’re going to give this one more try. The election is in 2016. I’m going to be moving there in spring of 2015 so I can start getting ready for this. You have about a year and a half to decide. And I’m dead serious about this. If I can move there, so can you." [7] He lost that election to Democratic incumbent Kelly Clarke by around a 10-point margin. [8]

Law enforcement career

Mack spent eleven years with the police department of Provo, Utah, and then moved back to Arizona to run for Graham County Sheriff in 1988. While serving as sheriff, he attended the FBI National Academy and graduated in 1992. [9]

Personal life

Mack was born in 1952 [10] in Arizona. [11] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attended Brigham Young University, earning a degree in Latin American studies. [9]

In January 2015 he suffered a heart attack and his wife became ill in late 2014. Because he and his wife are self-employed they do not have insurance to pay for their medical bills. As a result, friends of the Macks have started a GoFundMe site on their behalf, asking to donate money to help pay for their medical expenses. [12]


Mack has authored several books relating to gun laws, ownership and the role that law enforcement should play in America:

See also

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The 2014 Bundy standoff was an armed confrontation between supporters of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and law enforcement following a 21-year legal dispute in which the United States Bureau of Land Management (BLM) obtained court orders directing Bundy to pay over $1 million in withheld grazing fees for Bundy's use of federally-owned land adjacent to Bundy's ranch in southeastern Nevada.

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3 Percenters Organization

The Three Percenters is an American militia organization whose members pledge protest and armed resistance against attempts to curtail constitutional rights. The organization's credo cautions against a potentially tyrannical US Federal Government, and has been characterized as being ideologically similar to the Oath Keepers.

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Citizens for Constitutional Freedom

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The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) is a political organization of local police officials in the United States who believe in an interpretation of the United States Constitution wherein federal and state government authorities are subordinate to local government authority. In this regard, the CSPOA is an outgrowth of the Patriot movement and has some ideological similarities with the Sovereign Citizen Movement, although they are by no means identical. An article by the Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center states that "... the real root of the 'county supremacy' movement that has been explicitly embraced by the CSPOA is the Posse Comitatus, a racist and anti-Semitic group of the 1970s and 1980s that also defined the county sheriff as the highest 'legitimate' law enforcement authority in the country.. . ." and continues to identify several county sheriffs who are in sympathy with the stated goals of the CSPOA.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "'No' Sheriff in Town: Some Lawmen Refuse to Enforce Federal Gun Laws". NBC News . Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  2. Scalia. "Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)". Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  3. "Printz v. United States". Justia. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  4. "Sheriff on strategy to put women at front lines". YouTube. 2014-04-14. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  5. "Sheriff Mack Announces Lawsuit Against SPLC, Run for Congress". 2011-12-14. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  6. Chasmar, Jessica (5 April 2014). "Former sheriff willing to let wife, daughters die on front lines of Bundy ranch". Washington Times. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  7. "Richard Mack Announces Plan for 'Constitutional' Takeover of Arizona's Navajo County." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2015. YouTube
  8. Navajo County (November 8, 2016). "Election Summary Report, General Election, Navajo County, Complete Un-Official Results, November 8, 2016" (PDF).
  9. 1 2 Ryan Lenz (2012-11-11). "Former Arizona Sheriff Richard Mack Seeks 'Army' of Sheriffs to Resist Federal Authority | Southern Poverty Law Center". Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  10. Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities  linked authority file (LAF) .
  11. "2012 Sheriff Richard Mack for Congress". Archived from the original on May 6, 2012. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  12. "Uninsured Ex-Sheriff Who Fought O-care Struggles To Pay Medical Bills". 2015-02-27. Retrieved 2016-05-20.