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From Oregon to Mississippi, President Barack Obama’s proposed ban on new assault weapons and large-capacity magazines struck a nerve among rural lawmen and lawmakers, many of whom vowed to ignore any restrictions — and even try to stop federal officials from enforcing gun policy in their jurisdictions.

“A lot of sheriffs are now standing up and saying, ‘Follow the Constitution,'” said Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilbertson, whose territory covers the timbered mountains of southwestern Oregon.

But their actual powers to defy federal law are limited. And much of the impassioned rhetoric amounts to political posturing until — and if — Congress acts.

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