Lawmaker Wants to Protect Scofflaws

Jan 22, 2013

A state legislator wants to provide legal cover for people who do not want to obey new federal gun laws and regulations.

The proposal by Rep. Steve Smith would make it illegal for any Arizona public servant to enforce federal laws about guns and magazines in the state. Smith said he wants to provide legal cover for those who believe that new laws -- and especially new executive regulations -- are illegal.

"If there is a law or an edict passed down without the typical congressional approval that such a law would demand, I don't think ATF has the jurisdiction to come and say, hey, new rule change. Here's the way it's going down," Smith said.

Todd Rathner, a board member of the National Rifle Association, said he likes Smith's message. But Rathner said he's concerned about part of the bill that would make it illegal for federally licensed firearms dealers to enforce federal gun laws and rules.

"It puts them between a rock and hard place because they worry about committing a federal crime or a state crime and then, Rathner said. "The practical implications are that if they don't follow the federal laws as FFLs they're going to have their license yanked."

Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego said he believes even majority Republicans will reject Smith's measure.

"It just brings another black eye to Arizona so Steve Smith can go to his local tea party and thump on his chest and show how tough he is," Gallego said.