PHOENIX. (Feb. 18, 2015) – Today, an Arizona state Senate committee approved a bill that would big steps to effectively block any new federal gun control measures in the state. The vote was 5-1.
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.
“This draws a line in the sand and will make any new federal gun control scheme almost impossible to enforce in Arizona,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “The feds might try to pass something new, but without help from local law enforcement, they’re not going to be able to implement it in the state.”
SB1330 is similar to a bill that was signed into law in Idaho last year, and was passed by the Montana House this month. It has received support from Gun Owners of America, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA) and Arizona Citizens Defense League, the state’s preeminent pro-gun lobby.
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.
At the hearing, Rick Dalton of CSPOA, a retired 20-year veteran of the Mesa Police Department, spoke in support of the bill. “Our right to keep and bear arms is crucial and the only one we can use to defend the rest,” he said. “This bill will erect a barrier against federal overreach.”
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.
This is because a vast majority of federal enforcement actions are either led or supported by law enforcement – and other agencies – on a state level. As noted by the National Governor’s Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”
“A partnership doesn’t work too well when one side stops working,” said Boldin. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control schemes, the states can effectively bring them down.”
LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL
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.”
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, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee 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.
Last week, the Senate Committee on Federalism, Mandates, and Fiscal Responsibility passed SB1330 by a vote of 4-2, with 1 member not voting. And today, the Senate Committee on Public Safety, Military and Technology concurred, sending the bill to its final challenge before getting to the full Senate, the Rules Committee.
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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