SAFFORD — One of Graham County’s representatives to the State Legislature has co-sponsored a bill that would seek to limit Washington’s reach when it comes to guns in Arizona.
Rep. David Stevens, R-Dist. 14, helped introduce House Bill 2291, the Arizona firearms; prohibited enforcement bill.
“This is not a party issue; this is a constitutional issue,” Stevens said.
HB2291 states, “A public servant or federally licensed dealer who sells firearms in this state shall not enforce or attempt to enforce any act, law statute, rule or regulation of the United States government relating to personal firearm, a firearm accessory or ammunition that is owned or manufactured commercially or privately in this state and remains exclusively within the borders of this state.”
The bill goes on to state that any federal laws, rules, regulations or orders enacted after Jan. 1 are unenforceable in Arizona if the new rules attempt to ban or restrict ownership of semiautomatic firearms or magazines and/or require a firearm or magazine to be registered.
The bill would make anyone who follows federal law, regulations or orders guilty of a Class 6 felony.
Stevens said the bill is a “pre-emptive” move against the federal government attempting to assume authority that is, under the Constitution, to remain with the states.
“The things we don’t give the federal government belong to the states under the 10th Amendment to the Constitution,” Stevens said. “The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms. And making laws against law-abiding citizens doesn’t stop crime.”
Stevens said he expects the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Steve Smith, R-Dist. 11, and co-sponsored by Adam Kwasman, R-Dist. 11, Rep. Carl Seel, R-Dist. 20, Rep. Bob Thorpe, R-Dist. 6, and Stevens, to survive a legal challenging depending on which court hears the case.
“If it goes to the 9th Circuit Court (of Appeals), we’ll lose. If it goes to the (United States) Supreme Court, we’ll win,” he said.
On Jan. 16, President Obama issued 23 executive orders relating to guns, including having federal agencies share information for background checks, have the U.S. Attorney General review guidelines for prohibition of gun ownership, require a background check before returning a seized gun to its owner and alerting health-care providers that nothing in the Affordable Care Act prevents them from asking patients if they own a gun.
None of the executive orders concerned limiting or restricting the sale of firearms or firearm accessories.
However, on Monday, President Obama made comments calling for firearms restrictions.
“But, as we've indicated before, the only way that we're going to be able to do everything that needs to be done is with the cooperation of Congress. And that means passing serious laws that restrict the access and availability of assault weapons and magazine clips that aren't necessary for hunters and sportsmen and those responsible gun owners who are out there. It means that we are serious about universal background checks. It means that we take seriously issues (of) mental health and school safety,” Obama said before a White House meeting with Vice President Joe Biden and sheriffs and police chiefs.