Oh, boy, here we go. Yesterday former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords encouraged a Senate Judiciary Committee to "Be bold, be courageous," as they deliberate gun safety. On that same day, during the senate hearing, another shooting occurred in Gabby's home state, killing a father of two and injuring several others. Later on that same day Arizona's Senate Public Safety Committee, a legislative body where Gabby served for five years, voted to arrest federal officials who attempt to enforce new gun regulations. Gabby said "Be bold," her Arizona colleagues responded, "Screw you." The measure passed along a party line vote.
Arizona has among the most lax gun laws in the nation. Licensed dealers must comply with federal regulations and run a background check, but private vendors, especially at the gargantuan gun shows, can sell just about anything to anyone, few questions asked. Anyone over 18 can open-carry a weapon, and no permit or registration is required. So when 70-year-old Arthur Douglas Harmon walked into a Phoenix office building yesterday with guns strapped to his hip, before getting off at least 10 shots, he was in compliance with the law, unless the building had posted a sign prohibiting weapons. Harmon was found dead today, evidently a suicide, murdered with his own gun.
This is the proud Arizona tradition, right out of the Shootout at the OK Corral, that the Arizona legislature wants to protect. (Historical Fun Fact: The Earp-Clanton shootout did not take place at the OK Corral, and during that era persons entering Tombstone had to surrender their weapons.) Last year the legislature went so far as to inscribe Arizona's gun tradition into law, naming the Colt revolver the state's "Official Weapon." This classy act took place soon after the Tucson massacre that killed six people and injured twelve others, including their former legislative colleague Gabby Giffords.
Yesterday the Senate Committee considered and passed SB 1112, which says: 1) Arizona gun dealers shall not follow new federal regulations, such as a prohibition on selling assault weapons, and 2) state and federal officials shall not enforce new gun regulations in Arizona, such as background checks at gun shows. Violation is a felony.
One of the measure's sponsors is Rep. Carl Seel, who last weekend whipped the Gun Appreciation Day crowd into a frenzy with lots of chest-thumping talk telling the federal government to "go fly a kite." Similar macho harrumphing and "draw a line in the sand" rhetoric was on display at yesterday's committee hearing. Sen. Seel is the lawmaker, you may recall, who sponsored birther bills two years in a row. He even visited Donald Trump last year to compare "research." His first birther bill made it to Gov. Jan Brewer, but she thought it was too icky that a candidate could prove citizenship with a circumcision certificate, so she vetoed the bill. Seel's penis-free version last year never made it to the governor.
Dicks aside, another sponsor of yesterday's gun law bill is, I shit you not, Republican Don Shooter from Yuma.
And Sen. Don Shooter, R-Yuma, brushed aside concerns that there might be some conflict between state and federal authorities.Oh, no, this won't raise any conflicts between state and federal officials. It'll be just like Arizona's voter-approved proposition to ignore federal drug laws and license medical marijuana dispensaries, because the consequences are nearly the same, right? Lots of medicated patients and lots of armed individuals. And somebody help me here, but how many of the nation's county sheriffs have been around a thousand years?
"There are a thousand years of tradition that the county sheriff is the sovereign law enforcement official in any realm,'' he said. And Shooter said that even trumps the authority of an FBI agent. East Valley Tribune
Most members of the Senate Committee agreed that the bill, if signed into law, will likely end up in the courts, which now always seems to be the final step in Arizona's "How a Bill Becomes Law" lesson plan for 6th grade civics. In the meantime, Sen. Kelli Ward, a Republican from the invented town of Lake Havasu City (where the London Bridge spans a fake river in the desert), has no problem with just arresting their federal ass:
Ward, however, said she sees no reason why a sheriff's deputy cannot—and will not—arrest and handcuff a federal agent trying to enforce a federal law.Just like Gabby said yesterday: "Be bold, be courageous." She left out "be nutty," but Arizona's always here to remind her.