‘Tenther’ Sen. Kelli Ward to push the so-called 2nd Amendment Protection Act again

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The Arizona Capitol Times followed up on its report last week on "Tenther" Sen. Kelli Ward's bill to "nullify the NSA" with this tidbit way down in the report: Ward intends to reintroduce here bill from last year to nullify the enforecment of federal gun laws in Arizona. AZ lawmaker ready to take on NSA:

After unsuccessfully pushing legislation to defend Arizonans’ 2nd Amendment rights in 2013, Sen. Kelli Ward is preparing to try again during next year’s legislative session.

The Lake Havasu City Republican told the Arizona Capitol Times she’ll file another bill, similar to 2013’s SB 1112, that would attempt to prevent certain federal gun laws from being enforced in Arizona.

Guns manufactured and owned within Arizona’s borders would also be made exempt from any federal gun law, according to Ward’s 2013 legislation.

Ward’s previous attempt to pass such legislation failed after Senate Rules Attorney Stacey Weltsch told lawmakers she had no doubt the measure would be struck down in court — that various portions of the law would have violated the Supremacy Clause, interstate commerce regulations and the separation of powers under the U.S. Constitution.

Despite Weltsch’s warnings, Ward’s bill still cleared the Rules Committee in 2013, but could never gather enough votes to pass on the Senate floor. Strong objections from Senate Democrats, as well as concerns from some GOP lawmakers, left it clear the bill lacked enough votes for approval.

The bill was held on the Senate floor, never coming up for a vote.

Ward told the Capitol Times the latest iteration of her 2nd Amendment Protection Act, modeled after legislation promoted by the constitutional-rights organization the Tenth Amendment Center and gun-rights advocates, remains similar in its goal to prevent Arizona from actively working to enforce certain federal gun laws.

SB 1112 would have banned the enforcement of federal laws limiting semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines.

“There are some similarities in terms of not allowing state resources to provide material support for infringement of our 2nd Amendment rights,” Ward said.

Ward, who declined to share the draft of her legislation, said at least one change would be the elimination of penalties for federal officials who violate her gun law. SB 1112 made the violation of Ward’s gun protection bill a felony offense.

“It doesn’t have penalties for federal agents as it did last year, but there are penalties for state entities that choose to go down that path and disarm law abiding citizens,” Ward said.

This comes on the heels of a New York Times report on Monday about right-wing organizations opposed to enforcement of federal gun laws. Sheriffs Refuse to Enforce Laws on Gun Control:

Colorado’s package of gun laws, enacted this year after mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., has been hailed as a victory by advocates of gun control. But if Sheriff John Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws — which mandate background checks for private gun transfers and outlaw magazines over 15 rounds — may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions.

Some sheriffs, like Sheriff Cooke, are refusing to enforce the laws, saying that they are too vague and violate Second Amendment rights. Many more say that enforcement will be “a very low priority,” as several sheriffs put it. All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes.

The resistance of sheriffs in Colorado is playing out in other states, raising questions about whether tougher rules passed since Newtown will have a muted effect in parts of the American heartland, where gun ownership is common and grass-roots opposition to tighter restrictions is high.

* * *

In Liberty County, Fla., a jury in October acquitted a sheriff who had been suspended and charged with misconduct after he released a man arrested by a deputy on charges of carrying a concealed firearm. The sheriff, who was immediately reinstated by the governor, said he was protecting the man’s Second Amendment rights.

And in California, a delegation of sheriffs met with Gov. Jerry Brown this fall to try to persuade him to veto gun bills passed by the Legislature, including measures banning semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines and lead ammunition for hunting (Mr. Brown signed the ammunition bill but vetoed the bill outlawing the rifles).

“Our way of life means nothing to these politicians, and our interests are not being promoted in the legislative halls of Sacramento or Washington, D.C.,” said Jon E. Lopey, the sheriff of Siskiyou County, Calif., one of those who met with Governor Brown. He said enforcing gun laws was not a priority for him, and he added that residents of his rural region near the Oregon border are equally frustrated by regulations imposed by the federal Forest Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.

* * *

A Federal District Court judge last month ruled against a claim in the sheriffs’ lawsuit that one part of the magazine law was unconstitutionally vague. The judge also ruled that while the sheriffs could sue as individuals, they had no standing to sue in their official capacity.

Still, the state’s top law enforcement officials acknowledged that sheriffs had wide discretion in enforcing state laws.

* * *

Sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun laws around the country are in the minority, though no statistics exist. In Colorado, though, sheriffs like Joe Pelle of Boulder County, who support the laws and have more liberal constituencies that back them, are outnumbered.

“A lot of sheriffs are claiming the Constitution, saying that they’re not going to enforce this because they personally believe it violates the Second Amendment,” Sheriff Pelle said. “But that stance in and of itself violates the Constitution.”

Even Sheriff W. Pete Palmer of Chaffee County, one of the seven sheriffs who declined to join the federal lawsuit because he felt duty-bound to carry out the laws, said he was unlikely to aggressively enforce them. He said enforcement poses “huge practical difficulties,” and besides, he has neither the resources nor the pressure from his constituents to make active enforcement a high priority. Violations of the laws are misdemeanors.

“All law enforcement agencies consider the community standards — what is it that our community wishes us to focus on — and I can tell you our community is not worried one whit about background checks or high-capacity magazines,” he said.

At their extreme, the views of sheriffs who refuse to enforce gun laws echo the stand of Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff and the author of “The County Sheriff: America’s Last Hope.” Mr. Mack has argued that county sheriffs are the ultimate arbiters of what is constitutional and what is not. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, founded by Mr. Mack, is an organization of sheriffs and other officers who support his views.

“The Supreme Court does not run my office,” Mr. Mack said in an interview. “Just because they allow something doesn’t mean that a good constitutional sheriff is going to do it.” He said that 250 sheriffs from around the country attended the association’s recent convention.

* * *

Sheriff Cooke, for his part, said that he was entitled to use discretion in enforcement, especially when he believed the laws were wrong or unenforceable.

“In my oath it says I’ll uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Colorado,” he said, as he posed for campaign photos in his office — he is running for the State Senate in 2014. “It doesn’t say I have to uphold every law passed by the Legislature.”

As I have posted several times over the years, "Former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack leads a far-right anti-government conspiratorial extremist group, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, and is also associated with the Oath Keepers. Reporters have an obligation to report on these far-right extremists groups who are behind these bills and on our legislators' relationships to these far-right extremist groups. The voters have a right to know whether our legislators are members or supporters of far-right extremist groups that are on the FBI watch list."

And don't fool yourselves, sheriff is an elected position, they are first and foremost politicians. Many of these elected sheriffs likely had little or no law enforcement experience before they were elected. This is how far-right extremist organizations insinuate themselves into elective offices to gain the air of authority the public associates with the office. It gives their whacko far-right political views more credibility with an unknowing public and a feckless media.

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