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Friday, December 19, 2014 | Last updated: 1:58pm

AZ bill to block federal gun enforcement just another extremist tantrum



Like bratty teenagers, Arizona lawmakers are trying to rebel (again) against authority.

Last week state Rep. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) proposed legislation that would not only disregard gun regulation from Washington, but would also make it illegal for public servants to enforce any gun legislation coming from Washington.

Smith defines a public servant as any federal, state, or local government employee, which means that if a police officer, or a judge, or even a teacher in Arizona tried to enforce any gun law made by the federal government, it would be illegal.

This isn’t the first time Arizona has tried to ignore federal law. In 2011, the legislation proposed a law to override federal and executive orders.

Although Smith claims that the law would just be in place to provide a defense for a citizen who believes that the Second Amendment is untouchable, there is also a provision that would make it a felony for any federal employee or official to enforce the law, and if caught, they would be subject to up to a year in prison.

Let’s be real here. This legislation won’t pass. According to the Arizona Daily Star, even Todd Rathner, a board member for the National Rifle Association, doesn’t support the legislation because it puts gun dealers in the tricky situation of whether to follow state or federal law.

Even if the legislation were to pass, it would be overturned if challenged in court.

In the Constitution, the framers established the Supremacy Clause in Article VI, which states that federal law is “the supreme law of the land.”

The only way that the states can overturn the federal law is through nullification, which only applies if the federal law is deemed unconstitutional.

President Barack Obama has issued 23 executive orders, mostly pertaining to background checks and other imperfections in the current gun laws. None of his executive orders have been found unconstitutional.

In the Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton made it clear that the federal government should have supreme power when he said, “If a number of political societies enter into a larger political society, the laws which the latter may enact, pursuant to the powers entrusted to it by its constitution, must necessarily be supreme over those societies, and the individuals of whom they are composed.”

We cannot be certain as to how Hamilton would react to the current gun debate (although he was killed in a duel), but Hamilton makes it pretty clear that federal law should triumph over state law.

Obama has made more recommendations for tighter gun control and they have been sent to Congress for debate. If passed, these restrictions would probably hold as constitutional under federal law.

Each time, it’s the same thing. People roll their eyes and shrug at how stupid the Arizona legislature is. This isn’t a party issue; there are as many idiots on the left as there are on the right. If we want the rest of the country to take Arizona seriously, we need to elect serious people into office.

In reality, the Arizona legislation isn’t about the constitutionality of federal gun regulation. This isn’t really about the gun debate at all. It’s a political extremist acting like a dumb kid who wants to prove he’s all grown up by throwing a temper tantrum.

—Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat Editorial Board and written by one of its members. They are Dan Desrochers, K.C. Libman, Kristina Bui, Casey Lewandrowski, and Sarah Precup. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions


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