- Arizona and the city of Tucson could be headed to court over gun control in the state.
- GOP Gov. Doug Ducey signed a law declaring Arizona a “Second Amendment sanctuary” earlier this year.
- Tucson officials moved to uphold federal gun regulations in the city, despite the state law.
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Three months after the state of Arizona declared itself a Second Amendment sanctuary, officials in the liberal-leaning city of Tuscon say they plan to ignore the so-called declaration, signaling a possible legal battle in the ongoing fight for control over gun rights in the battleground state.
In April, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill declaring Arizona a Second Amendment sanctuary, ostensibly barring state and local governments from enforcing some federal gun regulations. The legislative action came in part, as a response to President Joe Biden’s talk of stricter firearm regulations.
At least 1,200 localities have made similar declarations since 2018, according to The Associated Press, as an ongoing string of high-profile mass shootings elicited calls for stronger protections. While many are only symbolic in nature, some do carry legal weight.
But the city of Tucson, which has long been an oppositional force to Arizona’s bend toward gun leniency, could be headed to court over the matter, and taking the state with it.
Last week, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero and the City Council unanimously passed a resolution proclaiming “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 the city limits “regardless of whether those laws, orders or acts are more restrictive or prohibitive than regulations established under the laws of this state.”
Steve Kozachik, the councilman who introduced the resolution last month, said he believes the state’s sanctuary law to be unconstitutional.
“Let them challenge us,” he told the The Arizona Daily Star.
The state law says Arizona is not obliged to follow or uphold US gun laws and prohibits any “personnel or financial resources” that would enforce, administer or cooperate with any federal act, law, or order that is “inconsistent” with any firearm regulations in the state.
Mike Rankin, a city attorney who drafted Tucson’s resolution told The Daily Star that the state law is a “symbolic action” meant to send a warning message to the federal government.
Ducey, who called the bill a “proactive” law to protect an “enumerated right” against what could possibly come out of the Biden administration, told the AP via a spokesperson that his office expects every city in Arizona to follow the new order.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mark Arizona as having the 15th highest gun-related mortality rate.
It is still unclear how this issue might play out in court. Charles Heller, communications coordinator for gun rights group the Arizona Citizens Defense League, told outlets he doesn’t think Tucson’s resolution will have an impact on the state law.
“They’re attempting to wave a flag no matter how weak that says they don’t like it,” Heller told The Daily Star.
But advocates of gun control said Ducey’s law was a major step backward toward tightening regulations. Tucson’s resolution, was in turn, a glimmer of hope, they said.
“We’ll see what happens as it plays out in the courts,” Gerry Hills, founder and president of Arizonans for Gun Safety told the Daily Star.