‘Cold, Dead Hands’ Remark Draws Fire for Sheriff Candidate

I can still remember the dramatic images of Charlton Heston, standing at the podium at the 2000 NRA Convention, holding aloft a replica 19th century Sharps rifle and, in a tone reminiscent of Moses, declaring, “From my cold dead hands!” He was responding to anti-gun activists’ persistent attempts to impose gun control and their secret, and not so secret, wish to disarm law-abiding Americans.

Well, this motto, now famous—or infamous, depending on your perspective—and dear to NRA members, is back in the news. Well, at least it is in North Carolina…thanks to a “joke” uttered by a candidate running for sheriff in that state. Buncombe County sheriff candidate R. Daryl Fisher, running as a Democrat, has reignited the heat contained in the message Heston was delivering nearly two decades ago.

On March 7th, while speaking to an anti-gun rights group, Moms Demand Action, Fisher said, “You’ve heard people say: ‘You’ll have to pry my gun from my cold, dead hands.’ Okay!”


Fisher has since issued a limp apology full of excuses, saying people took his words out of context. Still, though we can’t know his mind, we have to wonder where his heart is if he, as a candidate for the county’s highest law enforcement office, can “joke” about the death of gun owners. And, just for the record, I don’t believe Fisher wishes death for America’s gun owners. But a comment like that does show a degree of contempt for them.

In his “apology,” Fisher reminded people of his actual position on gun rights, “My vision for Buncombe County is ‘Justice for All’ and sensible gun legislation that protects innocent citizens and respects the rights of gun owners.”

If the gun rights crowd were ever inclined toward “dog whistles” and “microaggressions,” like the left is, “sensible gun legislation” or “common-sense gun laws” would be the gun owner’s version.

The minute I hear an anti-gun activist use such phrases, my ears—or, as I called them when I was still on the job, my BS detectors—perk up. Larry Elder just wrote a great piece illuminating the lack of common sense contained in the so-called common-sense gun laws the anti-gun crowd is pushing.

I don’t know if voters will elect Fisher (for the deputies’ sake, I hope not), but I do know the last thing America needs is another law enforcement leader who believes the way to keep people safe from outlaws is to restrict law-abiding gun owners’ rights.

One thing we know for sure is gun laws don’t affect the lawless. You’d think a candidate for sheriff would understand that.

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Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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