PHOENIX, February 3, 2014– The campaign to stop federal violations of the Second Amendment at the state and local level got two big boosts late last week with the introduction of the Second Amendment Preservation Act in Arizona and an important endorsement for a similar bill pending in Florida.
Along with eight other sponsors, Arizona state Senator Kelli Ward introduced the Second Amendment Preservation Act in the Grand Canyon State. SB1294 prohibits the state from enforcing “any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation that relates to a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state.”
“We’ve sat back and allowed the federal government to trample the Constitution long enough,” Ward said. “We’re going to pass this bill and stop the state of Arizona from helping the feds violate your rights.”
The legislation rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine. Simply put, the federal government cannot “commandeer” or coerce states into implementing or enforcing federal acts or regulations – constitutional or not. The anti-commandeering doctrine rests primarily on four Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. The 1997 case, Printz v. US, serves as the modern cornerstone.
“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty.”