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Arizona Gov. Ducey says gun rights law is ‘proactive,’ changes nothing

Lateif Dickerson handles some of his rifles at his gun instruction headquarters on March 25, 2021 in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – A day after signing a controversial Second Amendment bill, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said the new law doesn’t affect current policy but is a “proactive” move in case federal gun laws are changed.

House Bill 2111, which the Republican governor signed into law Tuesday, prohibits Arizona law enforcement agencies from enforcing federal gun laws that violate the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which ensures the right to bear arms.

“At this time, that law has not changed anything,” Ducey told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Wednesday. “So, that was a proactive law for what is possible to come out of the Biden administration.”

Critics say the law will discourage police from enforcing gun laws and is an unconstitutional measure that will cost taxpayers to defend in court.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone was among the bill’s opponents.

“I think … there’s political motivation,” Penzone, a Democrat, told Arizona’s Morning News last week. “It’s one of those emotional issues, but as far as the impact on law enforcement, it will create confusion or challenges more than benefits or protecting the Second Amendment.

“The people who wrote it really didn’t sit down and have a thoughtful conversation as to the application.”

Backers said the bill, which garnered a single Democratic vote while passing through the Legislature’s two Republican-controlled chambers, would ensure that the rights of gun owners are protected from what they say is the potential for overreach by President Joe Biden’s administration.

“There’s a lot of discussion out of Washington, D. C., about congressional action around the Second Amendment, and this law was simply to protect the rights that we already enjoy in Arizona,” Ducey said Wednesday.

Ducey said recent fatal mass shootings in Georgia and Colorado aren’t reason to enact new gun laws.

“What I want us to do is enforce the laws that are already on the books,” he said. “If we do that, we’ll get bad guys off the streets.

“I think whenever there’s these mass shootings, we start talking about laws that simply wouldn’t have fixed the the problem that happened.”

The Associated Press contributed to his report.

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