The Arizona House approved a measure on February 16 prohibiting the state from using resources, including people and funds, to enforce federal gun control laws. House Bill 2300 forbids state and local agencies from carrying out of any federal regulation restricting the right to own a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition.
Any federal action would be considered unconstitutional if it “infringes the right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution or that impairs that right in violation of Article 2, Section 26 of the Arizona constitution. It also bans the use of state assets or money in the enforcement of any forthcoming federal gun restrictions.
The bill has a provision designed to make sure local law enforcement doesn’t ignore it. It would bar state payments to cities and towns that don’t follow the enforcement ban and imposes civil and criminal penalties on violators.
Similarly, Senate Bill 1452, introduced on February 2, declares that “Any executive order or action that limits the rights guaranteed to a citizen of this state by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and that is not consistent with the constitutions of the United States and this state is an unlawful executive order or action and is not recognized in this state.”
Two other gun bills saw introduction, including HB 2524 which allows Arizona to agree with other states not to put new restrictions on firearms transfers and HB 2338, which bars schools or universities from banning gun owners from carrying concealed weapons in their vehicles on public roads going through school property.
The legislation rests on the legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, based on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842 with Printz v. U.S. serving as the cornerstone. Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help carry out or enforce any federal act or program.
The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to carry out and enforce its regulations and by withdrawing the necessary cooperation, states can nullify many federal actions.