Arizona lawmakers gave preliminary approval this week to a measure that would allow law enforcement officials within the state to ignore new federal restrictions on Second Amendment rights.
It was a move that two Arizona.com columnists described as a cross between secessionism and gun rights.
Republican Sen. Kelli Ward introduced the “Second Amendment Protection Act,” which presumes that any new federal firearm laws are unconstitutional, and prohibits funds or effort to enforce such laws, according to Arizona.com.
The proposal is the legislature’s first use of the authority that Arizona voters granted it by approving Proposition 122, which gives lawmakers the authority to challenge federal laws it deems unconstitutional.
The Senate recommended SB 1330’s passage on a simple voice vote but still must take a roll call vote to send the measure to the House of Representatives. The Senate also has yet to take up SB 1460, another Ward bill that would end the state’s ban on sawed-off shotguns and silencers.
The House of Representatives passed House Bill 2320, which would allow concealed weapons in public places and events. That is similar to measures former Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed three times. The Senate hasn’t voted on the latest effort to pass the bill.
All of the measures represent potential tests of Gov. Doug Ducey’s support for expanding gun rights. During his campaign last year, he cast himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment but has not elaborated on how, if at all, he differs from Brewer.
“We have got to take these things into our hands. We have got to assert our states’ rights,” Ward said of SB 1330. “We should not be leaving everything in the hands of the judiciary. The judiciary is not the end-all, be-all check and balance. We are all checks and balances of each other.”
“This pits Arizona against the United States,” said Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Phoenix, who urged his colleagues to vote against SB 1330. “That’s not how we should be perceiving our relationship with the federal government. … We can regulate who has access to guns. We can enact regulations that affect public safety but also respect the Second Amendment.”
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