Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Another Black Eye for Arizona
by Pa Rock
Every time is seems like things are settling down in the Scorpion State – like when Russell Pearce lost his state senate seat in a special recall election or Jan Brewer finally accepted that Obamacare is the law of the land – up pops another bit of craziness to remind Arizonans and the nation just how dumb many of our state leaders really are. It’s so embarrassing.
The latest truckload of shame is being foisted upon the state by a Republican (of course) legislator by the name of Steve Smith. Mr. Smith has authored House Bill 2291 to essentially protect gun owners in Arizona from their national government. Smith’s bill would make it illegal for any public servant to enforce federal laws or rules about firearms that remain within the state's boundaries. Apparently that prohibition of enforcing federal laws and rules would also apply to federally licensed gun dealers.
(This demonization of our national government reminds me of Jan Brewer pointing her finger at the President out on that tarmac. We here in Arizona know so much more about what is good for America than our government does. We are so special in that regard.)
But the National Rifle Association, a group normally in support of Arizona-style logic, is balking at the Smith proposal. The NRA, which likes to define itself as being an organization for the benefit of gun owners, is more accurately an organization of support for gun manufacturers and sellers, and primarily funded by those constituencies. The group does not want to see its federally licensed gun sellers put between a rock and a hard place in deciding whether to follow federal or state law. If the dealers lose those valuable federal licenses, the gun manufacturers lose market outlets. It's all about dollars.
Not to worry, Representative Smith says. His legislation has no penalties for either public servants or gun dealers who ignore the provisions of his law. The proposed legislation, it would seem, is a show dog rather than a fighting dog – and it has no teeth.
There is, however, one penalty. Any federal official or agent who sought to enforce new federal firearms laws and rules in Arizona could be found guilty of a felony and sent to prison. (And Arizona is awash in corporate prisons. Next to gun sales, prisons are our biggest industry.)
Perhaps all Arizona legislators should read the U.S. Constitution (and not just the Second Amendment) so that they can get some grounding in how the federal government works and the actual relationship between Washington, DC, and Phoenix. They might also want to review the results of the American Civil War, a brutal conflagration that settled the relationship between the nation and its many states once and for all - or so we were led to believe.
Representative Reuben Gallego, a Democrat from Tucson, took issue with Representative Smith’s private little war with Washington. Gallego said, “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.”
It’s all theatre…really, really bad theatre that will insure Arizona remains a national laughing stock for many years to come. We deserve better.