Legal experts have noted that local law enforcement authorities have never enforced federal gun laws, that's the job of the FBI or the ATF, depending on the law.
While it's clear that many of these angry statements are simple expressions of opinion, Potok says he is concerned that some people may take the these views in the wrong way.
"What people in positions of authority say matters," Potok said. "When you have sheriffs out there who are respected who are saying I refuse to obey federal law, the sheriff might not fire at federal agents, but others may be encouraged to do that. How can you have any kind of law enforcement system where local and federal authorities won't work together and perhaps work at cross-purposes?"
Pitcavage said it would take at least a year to determine whether the gun legislation has spawned greater membership in extremist, organized anti-government groups.
"It's still top early to tell," he said.
The Senate is expected to take up gun control legislation this month, with legislative leaders saying they hope to have a final bill passed in Congress by summer.