Skip to comments.Lawmaker looks to strengthen legal position for gun ownership
Posted on 01/02/2018 5:36:19 AM PST by SandRat
PHOENIX A Prescott lawmaker is proposing changes in state law designed to protect the right of Arizonans to keep their weapons no matter what a future Congress decides.
But the attorney who crafted it for Republican Rep. David Stringer said that still won't let Arizonans keep their "bump stocks'' if the federal government declares them illegal.
The legislation spells out the kind of weapons that the state believes are necessary for those who are members of the state militia. Existing Arizona law already says that automatically includes all "able-bodied citizens of the state'' between 18 and 45.
And just to be sure that folks who turn 46 don't lose their gun rights because of new federal laws, HB 2057 also would expand the definition of the militia to remove the maximum age. But it would add a new requirement that they be "capable of acting in concert for the common defense.''
The measure and a companion constitutional amendment were introduced by Stringer who said he wants to ensure that whatever occurs in Washington doesn't interfere with the right of law-abiding Arizonans to possess firearms.
But Stringer left it to attorney Michael Taylor, who has some expertise in the area of gun rights, to come up with the actual language. And Taylor said it is crafted to conform to a series of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have upheld gun rights.
The key, Taylor said, is the Second Amendment which refers to "a well-regulated militia'' and the right to bear arms. He said the high court has relied on that to curb federally imposed gun restrictions.
But Taylor said it's not that simple. He said each of those prior rulings have been based on the affected states defining not only that they have militias but what they determine to be the necessary weapons for such bodies.
HB 2057 seeks to do just that.
"We're not making anything new legal,'' Taylor said. "We are simply providing a mechanism for the court to decide in our favor.''
It first spells out that that Arizona needs "a body of citizens within this state who possess and are trained in the use of arms.'' It then contains a laundry list of weapons and related equipment that are considered "particularly suited'' for such purposes and says that those who are members of the militia may possess and transport them in the state "for all lawful purposes.''
That list includes any semi-automatic handgun, revolver or shotgun as well as any related equipment like noise and flash suppressors, aiming systems, trigger systems, bayonets, carrying slings and lights
And it even covers "any other small arms weapons system, ammunition, accessory or equipment that is in use by the armed forces of the United States or that is authorized for use by any law enforcement agency in this state.''
But Taylor said that does not necessarily overrule all federal laws and restrictions.
For example, he said U.S. citizens are, in fact, allowed to possess certain machine guns. Taylor said, though, nothing in this legislation would exempt Arizonans who want one from having to go through the special process now in place to get licensed for one, ranging from a $200 tax stamp and three sets of fingerprints to a background check that could take a year.
A bit less specific is that the law would allow Arizonans to possess "sufficient quantities of ammunition necessary to maintain a high degree of proficiency of arms.''
"If it goes to court, it will obviously have a 'reasonable man' standard applied to it,'' Taylor said. "It depends upon the specific circumstance, the specific gun.''
He cited the example of someone who is an Olympic medalist who competes in firearms.
"She goes through some utterly amazing amount of ammunition daily, weekly, etc., to maintain her degree of proficiency to be able to keep competing at that Olympic level,'' Taylor said.
So where do "bump stocks'' fit into all of this?
The controversial devices attach to semi-automatic weapons, with the recoil effectively enabling the user to fire off rounds in rapid succession without actually pulling the trigger each time. It's existence became widely known in the wake of the mass shooting in October in Las Vegas where a gunman firing from a nearby hotel killed 58 people attending an outdoor concert and wounded hundreds more. It is not covered under existing laws restricting automatic weapons because the rifle itself technically remains its semi-automatic configuration.
Some early congressional efforts to address the device proved non-starters, with the focus now on whether the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives might be able to revamp its own rules to include the bump stocks under its regulations of automatic weapons.
"Ultimately, should the ATF make a determination that a bump stock on a firearm no longer allows that firearm to maintain the definition of 'semi-automatic,' then, obviously, it would no longer be protected under our rubric here,'' Taylor said. Only those who have permission to have fully automatic weapons would be able to have them; anyone else with a bump stock would have to destroy it.
Along the same lines, he said the legislation could not be stretched to the point where Arizonans could claim it gives them the right to have any weapon they wanted. Taylor said courts would judge them using a "common-use test.''
Why? Federal law makes marijuana illegal and unauthorized entry into the country illegal yet certain states and cites ignore the law, why not gun laws?
The door has been opened to selective enforcement.
How about just “shall not be infringed”, period.
Not sure I like this added restriction. Some gun-grabbing libtard could come along and impose a physical/mental requirement on "acting in concert" with other militia and standing military units. Of course the libtards would pick the psychologists and criteria for mental acuity. Also, while the physical requirements for our military seem to be eroding, I'm sure the gun-grabbers would impose excessive requirements on mere civilians since there would be "extra strain in rapidly bringing together disparate militia units" or some such nonsense.
The federal government has no constitutional authority to restrict the Natural Right to keep and bear arms.
Any time they try to depend on laws to guarantee Constitutional Rights, they make those rights more subjective to the laws......and laws are easy to change compared to the Constitution....
——”Not sure I like this added restriction,” you said.____
The definition of militia must be legally defined, and it is defined now as anyone 18-45. How do you propose to improve it if not to expand the definition to include those older who might be able to help? You want the word “capable” removed from the language of the bill?
The idea is to provide a way for the court to rule in our favor. The language “capable of acting in concert...” ties the definition to a clear and comprehensible purpose for the militia. I can see why the attorneys put it in. How would you fix it?
If you like your gun, you can keep your gun — Oh wait.....
Why aren’t they taking steps to nullify federal gun laws? I mean states that have legalized marijuana haven’t had any trouble with the DEA. If the DEA won’t enforce drug prohibition against those states, what could the ATF possibly do?
The key, Taylor said, is the Second Amendment which refers to "a well-regulated militia''
When you focus on the militia part of the 2nd amendment you have lost the argument. States could therefor "regulate" the militia any way they want and we all know what that means.
No authority but lot of power.
That said, you got me - I don't have a ready answer it is a tough one. My main concern is the use of "capable" as a qualifier.
The obvious way to fix it is to remove the qualifier and basically say everyone over the age of 18. However, that would almost certainly be challenged and found to be overly-broad and in conflict with federal law etc.
Perhaps there needs to be a clear, concise definition of what is meant by "capable" in this context? Ugh, thus making the law - an expression of a relatively simple idea - even more wordy.
My fear is that at a later date some gun-grabber will come along and place unreasonable criteria on who is deemed "capable" of operating in concert. They could impose unreasonable physical and mental/psychological requirements - "must be able to run a mile in so many minutes, do so many pull ups..." Then turn around and "Oh, you're 55 and can meet all these physical requirements because you work out 3 days a week? That's obsessive behavior, you're deemed mentally unfit to operate in concert..."
You see, I just don't trust the gun grabbers, at all. I don't want to inadvertently give them an opening to further their agenda.
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