PHOENIX — State lawmakers sent a warning Monday to local officials: Do anything to help the federal government enforce its guns laws in violation of the Second Amendment and find yourself out on the street.
The legislation approved on a 6-3 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee declares that all federal acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations that violate the “true meaning and intent” of the Second Amendment “are invalid and void in this state.” SB1294 also forbids the use of state personnel or resources to enforce those rules.
But the measure also says any agent or employee of the state or local government who knowingly violates the law “is deemed to have resigned any commission” the person possesses and is “forever after ineligible to hold any office of trust, honor or emolument under the laws of this state.”
Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, said that could even extend to members of a city council and local employees who do anything at all to help enforce federal laws. And the legislation says any local government that helps the feds loses all of its state aid.
Ward said that goes to the point of the law which voids any federal law that violates the true intent of the Second Amendment “as given by the founders and ratifiers of the United States Constitution.”
That raised a question from Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, as to exactly who gets to interpret the true intent of the Second Amendment.
“I believe the Constitution is as written,” she said.
“It says in the Second Amendment that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” Ward continued. “And the definition of ‘infringed’ is to act as to limit or undermine or encroach on something.”
Ward said there would be “due process” for any official accused of violating the Second Amendment, with judicial protections.
But she also told Capitol Media Services that did not mean absolute deference to state or federal courts as to what is “constitutional.” Ward said the meaning of the Second Amendment has to be “as defined by the Constitution.”
“I think every individual interprets the Constitution,” she said.
“It has been left to the judiciary at times,” Ward continued. “However, when the judiciary is wrong it’s up to state legislators to come forward with bills that potentially can nullify any kind of federal infringement on Second Amendment rights.”
Ward acknowledged that people have been debating the “true meaning and intent” of the Second Amendment for years, as has the U.S. Supreme Court
“It’s been misinterpreted many times by the court,” she said.
“That’s why the state legislators have to stand up and have to take on unconstitutional ‘laws,” Ward continued. “Because whenever laws are passed that are unconstitutional, they aren’t actually laws.”
And Ward said if the courts refuse to see it that way, “if the state legislatures need to step in, they will and they should.”
The measure now goes to the Rules Committee for review of its constitutionality.