City officials in Tucson, Arizona are leading the charge against gun rights in the Grand Canyon State.
On June 22, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero (D) and the Democrat-controlled Tucson City Council unanimously passed a resolution vowing to enforce “federal laws, orders and acts that regulate firearms in a manner that is consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution … regardless of whether those laws, orders or acts are more restrictive or prohibitive than regulations established under the laws of this state.”
The move comes as a direct response to Arizona’s House Bill 2111, which declares the state to be a “Second Amendment sanctuary” that would not enforce any potential unconstitutional gun grabs. Also known as the Second Amendment Firearm Freedom Act (SAFFA), the bill was signed into law in April by Gov. Doug Ducey (R), who called it “a proactive law for what is possible to come out of the Biden administration.”
The law also prohibits state authorities from enforcing any federal gun laws deemed inconsistent with gun laws already on the books in Arizona.
Last year, candidate Joe Biden campaigned on enacting federal background checks for all firearm purchases, as well as banning assault weapons. Though Biden has not yet signed any major gun legislation, his implication that “you need nuclear weapons to take on the government” is one reason why more than 1,200 state and local governments have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries since 2018.
SAFFA looks poised to set up a classic “state v. local” court battle. Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik (D), who sponsored the city’s June 22 resolution, believes that SAFFA is unconstitutional and welcomes any impending legal challenges from the state.
“I am hoping they see our resolution, which simply says that, in the city of Tucson, we are going to recognize federal gun laws. Let them challenge us,” Kozachik told The Arizona Daily Star.
The Tucson resolution also notes that the United States Supreme Court has consistently held that federal law overrides state law, and that any action undertaken by the Biden administration on guns would tip the scales in the city’s favor. However, Arizona Republicans hope that any national challenge would raise greater questions about Biden’s authority under the Second Amendment.
Tucson, a blue dot in a desert of red, has long been at odds with the state of Arizona over gun rights. The city mandates special background checks for all guns purchased within its limits. And until an Arizona Supreme Court ruling struck it down in 2017, Tucson destroyed all firearms either confiscated by police or turned in by citizens.