PHOENIX. (Feb. 10, 2015) – Today, an Arizona state Senate committee approved a bill that would effectively block any new federal gun control measures in the state by withdrawing all state participation and enforcement.
Introduced by Sen. Kelli Ward, Senate Bill 1330 (SB1330) would prohibit state agencies and employees from enforcing – or even assisting in the enforcement of – any new “federal act, law, order, rule or regulation” that restricts ownership of a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within Arizona.
Today, the Senate Committee on Federalism, Mandates, and Fiscal Responsibility passed it by a vote of 4-2, with 1 member not voting.
This language puts the bill in harmony with recently amended Article 2, Section 3 of the Arizona Constitution, also known as Proposition 122, which voters approved last fall to enshrine a process to refuse state cooperation with unconstitutional federal acts in the state constitution.
SB1330 is similar to a bill that was signed into law in Idaho last year, and was passed by the Montana House this week. It has received support from Gun Owners of America and Arizona Citizens Defense League, the state’s preeminent pro-gun lobby.
LEGAL AND EFFECTIVE
Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” is an extremely effectively method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership in the states.
Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a recent televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.
Refusing to participate with federal enforcement is not just an effective method, it has also been sanctioned by the Supreme Court in a number of major cases, dating from 1842.
The 1997 case, Printz v. US serves as the cornerstone. In it, Justice Scalia held:
The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program.
As noted Georgetown Law Constitutional Scholar Randy Barnett has said, “This line of cases is now 20 years old and considered well settled.”
Sen. Ward introduced a similar bill in 2014. Unfortunately it drew fierce opposition from some other powerful gun groups who believe that some federal gun laws actually help advance gun rights – and ended being blocked from getting a vote in the state Senate.
Similar opposition to SB1330 is already rising behind the scenes, so inside sources expect Ward to take a strategic move to limit the effect of the bill to any new federal restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, rather than banning the state from participating in all federal gun laws.
“This is really a smart strategic move,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “We know that trying to stop all federal gun laws with just one bill is doomed in the Arizona Senate, so taking it one step at a time will set the foundation for more action in the futre,” he said. “Passage of SB1330 will draw a line in the sand and ensure that the feds will have an extremely difficult time trying to get any new gun control measures enforced in Arizona. From there, Arizona gun rights activists will have something to build on until all federal gun control is where it belong – dead and gone.”
Introduction comes at a time when several other states are considering similar bills, building momentum and support for the effort to block federal gun control at the state level. Similar bills have already been filed for 2015 in Texas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Minnesota, Montana, and New Hampshire and several more states are expected to do the same. Since 2013, Idaho, Alaska and Kansas have already passed into law legislation that pushes back at federal gun control measures with this same strategy.
“We know from experience that when ten or more states pass laws that seek to block federal acts, the federal government has an extremely difficult time with enforcement,” said Michael Gibbs of ShallNot.org.
SB1330 now moves to the Senate Public Safety, Military and Technology Committee, where it will need to be passed before going before the full Senate for a vote.
TAKE ACTION IN SUPPORT
In Arizona: Follow the steps to support this bill at THIS LINK
ALL OTHER STATES:
Urge your state rep and senator to introduce a similar bill. Send them the link the model legislation at this link:
contact info here: http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator
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