The Second Amendment was designed to keep government in check, so it doesn’t work when a government decides just how permissive the Second Amendment should be. Importantly, those Second Amendment protections also help guarantee the rights outlined in the First Amendment.
Mohave County got a lot of attention this week by becoming the first local government agency in Arizona to declare itself as a Second Amendment sanctuary.
So what’s that mean? It means that the county is willing to commit itself to potential pressure from state and federal government, even if it puts important funding sources at risk. It means the possibility of expensive court battles if a conflict emerges over the enforcement of future gun control laws.
Of course, all of this is theoretical for now.
Currently, the county’s declaration is simply a strong message to state and federal governments that Second Amendment rights are respected and revered in this corner of Arizona. That’s hardly a surprise to anyone who knows anything about this area’s politics.
Arizona is one of the most gun-friendly states in the union, after all, so it’s unlikely that Mohave County will face any pressure from the state anytime soon to enforce unconstitutional gun laws. Of course, that could change pretty easily depending on what happens in upcoming elections. Two of Lake Havasu City’s legislative representatives, Leo Biasiucci in the House and Sonny Borrelli in the Senate, warn that Arizona’s legislature isn’t as red as you think. They welcomed the county’s stance as a “clear-cut” warning to their legislative counterparts. Biasiucci told members of the Board of Supervisors that the state legislature has had a number of recent attempts at gun control, but the Republicans’ slim majority – 31, compared to 29 Democrats – have kept those potential laws at bay.
It’s encouraging that Mohave County supervisors and local legislators view their recent actions as a first step, not simply a line in the sand. Supervisor Hildy Angius made it clear she’d like to see Arizona adopt nullification laws, which is a legal theory that the state can invalidate any federal law it believes conflicts with the U.S. Constitution. Of course, Arizona has tried that before – in 2011 and 2014 – but those bills couldn’t generate enough support in the legislature.
The county should follow up its sanctuary declaration with an appeal for other counties, and ultimately the state legislature, to do the same. Borrelli says he’s sure his colleagues would entertain passing a nullification law if enough cities and counties followed Mohave County’s lead.
Mohave County Supervisor Ron Gould was in the legislature during the last attempt at passing a nullification law. At that time, he warned that there was “no one left to support states’ rights except for the states themselves.” That’s still true today. Mohave County made a big statement this week, and it ought to resonate throughout the state.
— Today’s News-Herald