Tuscon's Second Amendment Sanctuary Opposition Really Just About Local Gun Control

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Tucson, Arizona doesn’t like the state’s sanctuary status that bars state and local law enforcement from enforcing gun control laws. Instead of obeying the law, Tucson says they’ll continue enforcing all of those regulations and hoist a big old middle finger to the rest of the state.

However, for Tucson, it’s really all about local control.

The city of Tucson and the state of Arizona are once again at odds on how to regulate the sale and use of firearms.

The city has long attempted to enforce gun laws stricter than the state’s, which have included mandating background checks for guns purchased on city property and destroying seized firearms. Over the years, those measures have been met with legal challenges from the state.

Three months ago, the state of Arizona declared itself a so-called Second Amendment sanctuary, and now the state and city could be headed for another legal battle.

Last week, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the Tucson City Council unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming that “federal laws, orders and acts that regulate firearms in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution,” will “remain in full force and effect” within city limits “regardless of whether those laws, orders or acts are more restrictive or prohibitive than regulations established under the laws of this state.”

A year after a would-be-assassin shot then-Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, Kozachik spearheaded an effort to get guns off Tucson’s streets through a buy-back program that resulted in the destruction of firearms.

Not long after, the Legislature passed a bill prohibiting municipalities from destroying guns and instead requires local governments to sell any guns that come into their possession to a federally licensed gun dealer. A lawsuit followed, and in 2017 the Arizona Supreme Court sided with the state, ruling that Tucson’s buyback program violated state law, and therefore a constitutional provision that says state gun regulations preempt local ones. If found noncompliant with state law, the city stands to lose half of its state shared revenue.

This time around, the new state law, which Kozachik said “drips with hypocrisy,” is testing the state’s ability to preempt current and future federal interpretations of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Let’s be clear, Tucson doesn’t actually care about local control in general. What lawmakers there want is the ability to pass their own gun control measures. If they actually thought local control mattered, they’d openly support communities that want to break free of their states’ gun control measures, making guns more easily accessible.

See, when they try to frame opposition to things like preemption or sanctuary status as being about local control, what they’re really doing is signaling their own hypocrisy.

We don’t see any of these lawmakers willing to allow communities to have less gun control than the surrounding state.

What they want is more gun control and they want it at whatever level they can get it. What they won’t tolerate anywhere is less gun control. They can’t handle it. It drives them crazy.

For Tucson, the issue isn’t that there’s insufficient local control, it’s that there’s an insufficient ability for them to infringe on the rights of their citizens. That’s all it’s ever been about.