PHOENIX, February 24, 2014 – Today, a bill that would virtually nullify all federal gun acts, laws, orders, rules or regulations cleared another hurdle, passing out of a powerful Arizona state Senate committee, setting up a vote in the full senate in the coming days.
Arizona State Sen. Kelli Ward introduced the Second Amendment Preservation Act along with 12 sponsors and cosponsors. SB1294 prohibits the state from enforcing “any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation that relates to a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state.”
Last year, Judge Andrew Napolitano urged states to introduce and pass this type of legislation, saying that a single state passing such a law would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible to enforce.”
SB1294 rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot “commandeer” or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. The 1997 case Printz v. US serves as the modern cornerstone. Writing for the majority Justice Scalia called commandeering incompatible with the constitutional system.
“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. 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. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”
The Senate Rules Committee passed the bill 4-2 with one member absent, deeming it proper for consideration with a floor amendment.
The proposed amendment clarifies that the bill does not prohibit state agents from accessing federal databases for approval of state conceal carry permit applications and makes a few other technical clarifications. The amendment language was drafted to allay some concerns voiced by the NRA.
“The regional representative of the NRA told us that they support the intent of the legislation, and we were very happy to hear that,” Arizona Tenth Amendment Center coordinator Adam Henriksen said. “The floor amendments address the concerns the NRA voiced, so we should be good to go.”
SB1294 now moves on to the full Senate for consideration.
“We’ve sat back and allowed the federal government to trample the Constitution long enough,” Ward said. “We’re going to pass this bill and stop the state of Arizona from helping the feds violate your rights.”
After initial backing from the Tenth Amendment Center, SB1294 garnered support from the well-respected Arizona Citizens Defense League, along with national organizations such as Gun Owners of America and the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA).
“We are in league with this legislation, and we encourage every state to enact similar laws,” Sheriff Richard Mack said.
Mack founded CSPOA and was a lead plaintiff in the 1997 Printz case providing the legal basis for the bill.
It’s quite simple; you cannot say you support the Second Amendment and oppose this bill.
“Guns and Ammo magazine ranked Arizona number one for gun rights, giving our state a score of 49 out of a possible 50 points. Our legislators know that we won’t let our rights be trampled on,” he said.
In Arizona: Take steps to support SB1294 HERE.
For Other States: Contact your state legislators today – urge them to introduce similar legislation. Model bills and contact info
Adam Henriksen [send him email] is the state chapter coordinator for the Arizona Tenth Amendment Center. Originally from Georgia, Adam has lived in Arizona for 15 years and has been with the Tenth Amendment Center since 2012.
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