They’re baaack! Arizona’s Neo-Confederate dead-enders are back

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

It was just last week that the elite political media of Arizona were reassuring us that the 51st Arizona legislature would not be as extreme and divisive as the last Arizona legislature. That self-delusion didn’t last long.

Once again, Arizona’s Neo-Confederate dead-enders are back promoting the long discredited theories of "interposition and nullification" to oppose desegregation gun regulations under the banner of "state’s rights."

Last year, wingnut Rep. David Gowan (R-Sierra Vista), who has now been promoted to House Majority Leader, sponsored HB 2434 which would have required employees of federal agencies to first notify the sheriff of the county "before taking any official law enforcement action in a county in this state." ‘States’ Rights’ Tea-Publicans run amok:

Gowan said it’s a simple matter of state sovereignty.

"If you look in your Constitution, you will not find there are any police powers granted to the federal government," he said. And Gowan said the 10th Amendment says any powers not given to the federal government are reserved for the states and the people.

"That means the states have the inherent right to use law enforcement,” he said.

From a practical standpoint, Gowan said the highest elected law enforcement officers in the state are the sheriffs of the 15 counties.

"They have a mandate from the people over bureaucracies," he said, which includes federal agencies. "Without this, we allow the bureaucrats to dictate and bring their vision of law enforcement down upon the people who are duly elected."

Gowan said his legislation would bring back the state’s sovereignty "in line with what we need to be to make sure our citizens have all the liberty they can handle."

HB 2434 was actually approved by the Arizona legislature. It took a veto by Governor Jan Brewer to restore sanity. Governor Brewer vetoes ‘States’ Rights’ Tea-Publican bill.

Rep. Gowan was parroting the "Tenther" language of far-right extremist groups like former Graham County Sheriff Richard Mack’s conspiratorial Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association and the Oath Keepers, made up of former and current law enforcement officers and military personnel who believe it is their duty to defy what they deem to be unconstitutional orders. (These extremist groups, along with the Sovereign Citizens Movement, are on the FBI watch list as a domestic threat to law enforcement).

Now wingnut Rep. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) is promoting a similar resolution of "interposition and nullification" to oppose any new federal firearms regulations. AZ bill would outlaw US gun enforcement:

Fearing new federal laws and regulations, a state legislator wants to provide legal cover for Arizonans who do not want to obey them – and impose penalties on federal officials who try to enforce them.

The proposal by Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, makes it illegal for any public servant to enforce "any act, law, statute, rule or regulation" of the federal government relating to personal firearms or accessories as long as they remain within the boundaries of Arizona. And it defines public servants to include not just state and local employees but legislators, judges, jurors, witnesses and consultants who perform government functions.

But HB 2291 contains no penalties. Smith said it instead would provide a defense of sorts for those who believe the Second Amendment precludes any new rules.

However, another provision would make it a felony, punishable by a year in state prison, for federal employees or officials who try to enforce those same laws or regulations.

Smith conceded a state law criminalizing the actions of federal employees would be considered legally suspect.

Ya think, genius?!

Smith said his legislation, if approved, would pave the way for legislative lawyers to determine if there’s "wiggle room" to ignore those statutes.

Where he said his measure may be more effective is on any action the president takes on his own.

* * *

Smith said in those cases, a state law would have more effect than anything the president would do on his own, or any regulation a federal agency enacts without a specific law mandating it.

"I don’t know that an agency can arbitrarily change a rule so dramatically without congressional approval," he said.

Smith said it would be one thing if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were making a technical change, like a fee increase.

"We’re fundamentally changing the scope of the Second Amendment in many people’s eyes," he said. "And I don’t know that an agency can do that."

Smith said he is sending a message to the president and Congress.

Yeah, that the Arizona legislature is occupied by Kooks, that The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts assured us would not happen because she said so. Late night comics alert: the Arizona legislature is back in business! C’mon down!

On a more serious note, it is not enough for Arizona’s elite political media to simply report on these crazy bills. They have an obligation to report on the 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. Are there no investigative jornalists left?

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