Richard Mack

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Richard Mack
Richard Mack by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Mack in downtown Phoenix, Arizona in January 2011.
Born Richard Ivan Mack
1952 (age 62–63)
Occupation Author, activist, sheriff

Richard Ivan Mack is the former sheriff of Graham County, Arizona and is best known for his role in a 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), a fringe group[1] and established the "County Sheriff Project" movement, both of whom claim the power to refuse to enforce federal laws.[2]

Mack v. United States[edit]

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.

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.[3] 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.[4]

Political views[edit]

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).[2] In 2009, Mack appeared in interviews on a cable public access show[5] and a one-person website,[6][7][8][9][10][11] in which he discussed his membership in Oath Keepers, and the importance of police officers and members of the military upholding their oaths to the U.S. Constitution.

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."[2]

Mack is also an opponent of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), writing on his website, “The States do not have to take or support or pay for Obamacare or anything else from Washington DC. The States are not subject to federal direction.”

Oath Keepers and Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association[edit]

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.[2]

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." [12]

The Southern Poverty Law Center included both CSPOA and Oath Keepers on its list of 1,096 anti-government "patriot" groups active in 2013.[2] Mack announced in 2011 that he was initiating a lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center for libel, slander, and defamation.[13]

Campaigns for Congress[edit]

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[edit]

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.”[14]

Law enforcement career[edit]

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. In 1994, he was named Elected Official of the Year by the Arizona-New Mexico Coalition of Counties. He was also named the National Rifle Association Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for 1994, and was inducted into the NRA Hall of Fame.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Mack was born in 1952[16] in Arizona.[15] He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and attended Brigham Young University.[17]

In January 2015 he suffered a heart attack and his wife became ill in late 2014. Mack claims that 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 Go Fund Me site on their behalf, asking others to donate money to pay for their medical expenses.[18] The CSPOA is helping to fund raise for the Macks’ medical expenses.


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

  • The County Sheriff America's Last Hope
  • The Proper Role of Law Enforcement
  • From My Cold Dead Fingers: Why America Needs Guns with Timothy Robert Walters (1994)
  • THE NAKED SPY: His Mission Began the Day He Died (2005)
  • The MAGIC of Gun Control (2011)


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e Chertock, Marlena, Emilie Eaton, Jacy Marmaduke, and Sydney Stavinoha. "'No' Sheriff in Town: Some Lawmen Refuse to Enforce Federal Gun Laws." NEWS21. NBC News, 21 Aug. 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2015. <>
  3. ^ "Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997)." Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997). N.p., 27 June 1997. Web. 14 Aug. 2015. <>
  4. ^ "Printz v. United States". Justia. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ TV interview with Richard Mack on YouTube
  6. ^ About Us
  7. ^ Big3 News Part 1 with Richard Mack on YouTube
  8. ^ Big3 News Part 2 with Richard Mack on YouTube
  9. ^ Big3 News Part 3 with Richard Mack on YouTube
  10. ^ Big3 News Part 4 with Richard Mack on YouTube
  11. ^ Big3 News Part 5 with Richard Mack on YouTube
  12. ^ Fox News, April 14, 2014
  13. ^ Sheriff Mack Announces Lawsuit Against SPLC, Run for Congress
  14. ^ "Richard Mack Announces Plan for 'Constitutional' Takeover of Arizona's Navajo County." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2015. <>
  15. ^ a b[dead link]
  16. ^ Date information sourced from Library of Congress Authorities data, via corresponding WorldCat Identities linked authority file (LAF) .
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^

External links[edit]