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Pennsylvania Police Chief Starts Group To Defend Constitution

In preparation for that feared day when the federal government comes for citizens’ guns — a fear that animates much of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement — a police chief in Pennsylvania has formed a militia-like group to stand against federal authorities he believes are intent on destroying the Constitution. The group, the Constitutional Protection Force (CPF), has already grown to 38 chapters in 38 states, with each dedicated to “meeting any attempts by the federal government to forcibly disarm the public,” one website claims.

Behind the effort is Mark Kessler, police chief in the tiny borough of Gilberton, Pa., about 50 miles southwest of Scranton. Kessler, who has signed the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers pledge (see story, p. 12), made a national name for himself when he proposed a local ordinance that would require his borough to “enact any and all measures as may be necessary” to protect the Second Amendment.

“Our forefathers fought the English, almost to their demise, for the freedoms that so many now take for granted,” Kessler wrote in a January letter to the Gilberton Borough Council. “I am requesting that you show your American Patriotism and support the 2nd Amendment. If no action is taken, it will only be a matter of time before the remaining Amendments are also denied.”

Of course, it remains to be seen just what will become of Kessler’s militia — if it will grow or dissolve amid the ever-tendentious fight to pass gun control legislation. But in the meantime, the CPF has attracted widespread attention, and support, from a growing faction on the radical right.