Lawmaker Points Out Big Problem With Pima County, AZ Gun Ordinance – Bearing Arms

Lawmaker Points Out Big Problem With Pima County, AZ Gun Ordinance – Bearing Arms

Preemption means that only the state can enact gun control laws. This isn’t a new thing, particularly in states like Arizona that have long shown support for the right to keep and bear arms, though the state does seem to be rolling toward the anti-gun side with their recent statewide election results.

Still, preemption is the law.

That means a place like Pima County can’t just decide to pass their own gun control laws. Yet, that same county passed a law requiring people to report stolen guns. Some would say that’s not gun control while others would.

One who says it is also happens to be a state lawmaker.

Pima County’s newly minted gun law is in the crosshairs of a state representative.

He says the law, approved last week, violates state law and the right of gun owners, fining them if they fail to report their gun is lost or stolen. 

In a letter addressed to the Pima County Board of Supervisors, State Rep. Quang Nguyen said the new ordinance violates Arizona State law, A.R.S. § 13-3108, which prohibits local governments from enacting firearm-related regulations that exceed state law.

Nguyen, in the letter Wednesday, demanded a repeal of the ordinance stating:

“The ordinance violates state law by imposing on lawful gun owners mandatory and stringent reporting requirements … and significant consequences.”

He said the city of Tucson passed a similar ordinance 10 years ago.

“The Arizona Attorney General issued an opinion concluding that the ordinance conflicted with A.R.S. 13-3108(a) and (d), and state law has not materially changed since the Attorney General’s opinion.” 

In response to Nguyen’s letter, State Representative Betty Villegas said: “I think it’s premature for him to do so. At least this provides a way to keep guns from going into the wrong hands for the wrong reasons.” 


Whether they’re reported to the police or not, those guns are still stolen. Reporting them as stolen doesn’t actually do anything to prevent them from “going into the wrong hands for the wrong reasons.”

Honestly, that’s an inane argument.

Nguyen, however, is right. This is a gun control ordinance that Pima County concocted–look at Villegas’ defense of it, for example–and they don’t have the authority to do so. Pointing this out to them is certainly warranted.

After all, it’s possible–unlikely, but possible–that Pima County officials didn’t think of this ordinance as being “gun control” in the first place. It is, but I can imagine people not thinking of it quite this way.

Regardless of their intentions, though, they crossed the line. They needed to be aware of that. How it’s premature to tell them they’re breaking the law is beyond me, but then again, that was from someone who thinks reporting lost or stolen guns will somehow prevent those guns from ending up in criminal hands.

Not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, it would seem.

The question is where does it go from here? Does Pima County make the changes necessary to stay in compliance with state law? Or do they ignore the warning and wait for someone to challenge it in state court?

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