Gun owners in Arizona rejoiced when Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Second Amendment Firearm Freedom Act into law earlier this year, which declared that any federal gun control restrictions that violate the Constitution would not be enforced by state and local governments. Arizona is one of almost a dozen states to adopt Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation over the past few months, but it appears to be the first state to have a Democrat-controlled city try to opt out of the sanctuary provisions and declare that it’s willing to work with the feds on enforcing new gun laws.
Councilman Steve Kozachik asked Tucson’s Mayor and Council to adopt a resolution to separate them from House Bill 2111.
“So what I hope happens is the moment we adopt this resolution and announce to the legislator of the governor, that we are going to recognize federal gun laws,” Kozachik said. “That bates them into suing us, we meet them on the courthouse steps and we say your nullification is unconstitutional, it’s void and it just goes away.”
House Bill 2111 was signed into law in April and states any law that violates the second amendment will be null in a void in the state of Arizona.
“This legislation is irresponsible. It’s unconstitutional and it’s unnecessary and especially in June in gun violence awareness month,” Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said.
That last nonsensical line from Mayor Romero made me chuckle. Ducey signed the law in April, so what does the fact that gun control activists have declared the month of June to be “Gun Violence Awareness Month” have anything to do with the legislation?
Absolutely nothing, of course. It’s just part of the standard talking points for anti-gun politicians this time of year, I suppose.
Romero’s comment tying in the legislation to an invented gun control holiday is almost as silly as her claim that the new Arizona law is unconstitutional. Here’s the entire text of the 2nd Amendment Firearms Freedom Act:
PURSUANT TO THE SOVEREIGN AUTHORITY OF THIS STATE AND ARTICLE II, SECTION 3, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA:
1. AN ACT, LAW, TREATY, ORDER, RULE OR REGULATION OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT THAT VIOLATES AMENDMENT II OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES IS NULL, VOID AND UNENFORCEABLE IN THIS STATE.
2. THIS STATE AND ALL POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS OF THIS STATE ARE PROHIBITED FROM USING ANY PERSONNEL OR FINANCIAL RESOURCES TO ENFORCE, ADMINISTER OR COOPERATE WITH ANY ACT, LAW, TREATY, ORDER, RULE OR REGULATION OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT THAT VIOLATES AMENDMENT II OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES.
How can it be unconstitutional to say that no state or local governments can enforce unconstitutional laws?
Honestly, the real issue with Arizona’s Second Amendment Sanctuary law is that it doesn’t go far enough. Who, for instance, determines whether or not an “act, law, treaty, order, rule, or regulation of the U.S. government” violates the Second Amendment? The legislature? The Arizona Supreme Court? The governor? The bill is entirely silent.
What about penalties for political subdivisions that do decide to enforce a new federal gun control law? The 2nd Amendment Firearms Freedom Act doesn’t include any sanctions if a city like Tucson ends up enforcing, say, a universal background check law.
Unlike other Second Amendment Sanctuary legislation approved in states like Missouri, Arizona’s bill is largely symbolic, which in turn makes the move on the part of Tucson’s city council symbolic as well. Tucson’s anti-gun politicians may be itching for a court fight, but unless or until the state tries to enforce its unenforceable 2nd Amendment Firearms Freedom Act, I don’t think there’s much chance of a judge allowing a case to go forward.
If these anti-gun politicians really want a fight, Arizona legislators should give them one by amending the 2nd Amendment Firearms Freedom Act at their first opportunity; specifically laying out that no new federal gun laws will be enforced by the state or local political subdivisions, and providing the opportunity for residents and/or the state to bring suit against any locality that cooperates with federal agencies in enforcing new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. That would put some teeth into the 2nd Amendment Firearms Freedom Act, and lawmakers would still be on solid legal ground.