Arizona officially became the latest state to enact “Second Amendment sanctuary” laws just as President Joe Biden is set to unveil his first major gun control measures since taking office.
Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2111 into law on Tuesday that prohibits any state agency or subdivision from enforcing federal firearm regulations that do not comply with the laws in Arizona. According to multiple media reports, Biden is expected to announce a series of executive orders today aimed at addressing gun violence.
Rep. Leo Biasiucci (R – Lake Havasu City) is the primary sponsor of the bill and said its passage is a win for the state and for law abiding gun owners.
“You always have way more people who are law abiding citizens who own guns than criminals – and I want them to have the guns,” he said. “It is important that we don’t restrict the rights of those citizens.”
Opponents of the bill have argued that federal law supersedes local laws and ordinances, and say it could become a target for lawsuits in the future.
But Biasiucci said the 10th Amendment protects state’s rights. Biasiucci countered that many opponents of this bill support “sanctuary cities” that have stopped cooperating with federal immigration agents. He also pointed out that Arizona has already legalized marijuana, which is illegal federally.
Biasiucci said he believes bills like this one is why he was elected to represent District 5 – including Mohave and La Paz counties – in the first place.
“They voted me in because they believe that I am going to protect the constitution and protect their rights – especially the second amendment,” he said. “So when you have the Biden Administration talking about restricting AR-15s and banning high capacity magazines we need to have people in office who are going to push back against that.”
Biasiucci said the bill sends a clear message to the rest of the country that Arizona doesn’t intend to follow the federal government’s lead on gun control measures.
“It is a very simple bill. It just says we are not going to abide by anything that violates the second amendment or gun laws in Arizona,” he said. “So we are not going to spend resources, law enforcement isn’t going to spend time going door to door trying to confiscate guns, the courts are not going to process any of those supposed crimes.”
Biasiucci clarified that the bill only applies to gun regulations, so it would not prevent Arizona law enforcement from working with the feds on other things such as drugs or human trafficking. It also doesn’t directly prevent federal law enforcement from conducting its own operations in Arizona.
“If federal law enforcement wanted to come in and try they could,” Biasiucci said. “I don’t think that it would be wise for them to do that, but they could still technically do that if they wanted.”
The new law makes Arizona the fifth state to enact some sort of “Second Amendment sanctuary” law – joining Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Wyoming.
The bill was passed along nearly-partisan lines with Republicans supporting the legislation and Democrats opposed. The House of Representatives passed the bill 31-29 back on Feb. 24 along strict partisan lines, but Sen. Lisa Otondo (D – Yuma) crossed party lines to vote with Republicans, helping the bill pass the Senate 17-13 on March 30.
Biasiucci said he was pleasantly surprised by the vote from Otondo, but said he was confident that the bill would become law because Republicans – which have a majority in both chambers – were completely unified.
“Every Republican supported this bill so it was never really in question,” he said.
A similar bill introduced by Biasiucci last year got stuck in committee and didn’t move forward before the 2020 legislative session was cut short due to the pandemic.