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home : latest news : state April 29, 2016

3/6/2014 6:00:00 AM
Legislation tells police: Don't work with the feds
Kingman chief worried about ramifications
State Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City
State Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City
Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries
Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries
SB 1294
A. All federal acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations that are in violation of the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, that are unauthorized by the Constitution and that violate the Second Amendment's true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers of the United States Constitution are invalid and void in this state.

B. Notwithstanding any other law, regulation, rule or order, an agency or political subdivision of this state or an employee of an agency or political subdivision of this state acting in the employee's official capacity or a corporation providing services on behalf of this state or a political subdivision of this state shall not:

1. Enforce any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation that relates to a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state.

2. Provide material support, participation or assistance in any form with any federal agency or employee engaged in the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state ....

3. Use any assets, state monies or monies allocated by this state to local entities on or after the effective date of this section, in whole or in part, to engage in any activity that aids a federal agency, federal agent or corporation providing services to the federal government in the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation of the federal government regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state or any investigation pursuant to the enforcement of any federal act, law, order, rule or regulation of the federal government regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition within the limits of this state.

For the full text, go to

Doug McMurdo
Miner Staff Reporter

KINGMAN - A bill that would prohibit local and state law enforcement agencies from helping federal agents enforce federal gun laws in Arizona could have an unintended consequence, according to Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries.

DeVries recently advised Mayor Janet Watson and the City Council that, if enacted, SB 1294 would ban regional officers from working with federal agencies.

That would effectively put an end to the Mohave Area General Area Narcotics Team, which receives roughly $100,000 a year in federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) grants.

A key provision for grant eligibility, said DeVries, is that local and state agencies work in collaboration with federal agencies.

Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, is the bill's sponsor. Ward said she has spoken with DeVries and Lake Havasu City Police Chief Dan Doyle.

Ward said SB 1294 is based on the anti-commandeering doctrine and has been upheld in at least four U.S. Supreme Court cases.

"The federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce federal acts or programs," said Ward in an email.

"The intent of the bill is for federal laws to be enforced by federal agencies and agents, not local or state resources."

DeVries said the county is at risk of losing its drug enforcement program based on the legislation, because MAGNET does work with federal agencies.

MAGNET's membership consists of detectives from the Kingman Police Department, which is the lead agency, the Mohave County Sheriff's Office, the police departments of Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

A seven-month investigation that culminated last August with the arrest of 18 Mohave County residents and warrants for the arrest of eight more involved MAGNET working in tandem with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and deputy marshals from the U.S. Marshals Service.

During the investigation, local and federal undercover detectives purchased a pipe bomb, several sawed off shotguns - they are prohibited by state law - and 78 firearms, including 27 that were allegedly stolen.

More than 60 blasting caps, thousands of rounds of ammunition and slightly more than three ounces of methamphetamine were also purchased during the investigation or seized during the raid.

DeVries said police chiefs across the state "strongly oppose" Ward's bill. City Manager John Dougherty suggested the City Council organize opposition to SB 1294 in unity with the city councils of Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City.

Ward, however, said the issue is about gun laws that violate the Constitution.

"It comes down to the fact the federal government has no right to attempt to regulate our gun laws," said Ward. "We have the Second Amendment to guide us on the issue."

Ward has interpreted the Second Amendment literally, saying previously that the framers of the Constitution left no doubt about their intentions when they inserted the words "shall not be infringed."

Other states have similar legislation under debate, but critics say they have little chance of standing up to court scrutiny if they become law due to another provision in the Constitution, the Supremacy Clause.

The Supremacy Clause establishes the Constitution and federal laws as the law of the land and requires state judges to follow federal law when federal and state laws are in conflict.

However, the clause also says that it only applies if Congress acts within its authorized powers.

When states believe Congress has gone beyond those powers, as some do in the case of federal gun laws, medical marijuana, gay marriage and even the use of drones, they can attempt to seek nullification, which would allow them to invalidate federal laws believed to be unconstitutional.

However, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that nullification is unlawful under yet another constitutional provision, Article III, which states only federal courts have the authority to nullify federal laws.

From Ward's perspective, federal agencies can continue to try to enforce federal gun laws in Arizona, but they'll have to go it alone.

"This will be devastating if it passes," said DeVries.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Article comment by: Oh Ya

"All those who love their guns should be concerned about the fact your federal government, current admin. in D.C. wants nothing less than to destroy your 2nd amendment rights and will stop at nothing to do so."

Complete and utter garbage as usual.

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

All those who love their guns should be concerned about the fact your federal government, current admin. in D.C. wants nothing less than to destroy your 2nd amendment rights and will stop at nothing to do so.
Obama's nominee for Surgeon General, Viktor Marthy is a gun control activist and has only 8 years as a doctor who has basically advocated for gun control siting it as a health issue. You better be praying the senate is smart enough to vote against him. Better yet, you should be contacting every senator in congress.

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Article comment by: Stupidist thing Ive seen her do so far. Pleanty of time left though.

Stupidest thing Ive seen her do so far. Plenty of time left though. All you have to do is look at who supports her and you will know..

Posted: Sunday, March 9, 2014
Article comment by: Stand Together Against Bullies

Amazing how many of the comments here support this bill.

It's also amazing how many of our elected officials, our leaders, and our own police chief have not spoken out against the radical right in this area. We had the pitch fork fiasco at a BOS meeting. We had city council meetings where Tea Partiers have spoken and their words have gone unchallenged. Now we have attacks on our police chief by many of these same wackos. Our officials and leaders are intimidated by this small, but vocal minority.

A word of the wise to those leaders. Unless you stand together and support rational descent and respectful discord, this element will continue to pick you apart one-by-one. The mayor, vice mayor, council members, sheriff, business owners, etc. need to stand up and be heard. You must speak out along with our police chief about the dangers radical actions, even when (especially when) they are advanced by our elected officials.

Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014
Article comment by: Amaryllis Smith

Pres. Hussein Obama has accused congress of holding him hostage and demanding ransom. This is the very thing he and his minions are doing to the states just as with the Common Core program and the recent veto on SB1062.
States are better than this and had better be standing up against this out of control corrupt federal take over of We the People!

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: @rick sherwood

the chief isn't chasing money. he is fighting drugs and gangs in this area and it requires revenue. the city doesn't have it because az legislators took away as much as they could in revenues to bring their budget in order. Now the state has a surplus and Kelly should be working on getting back the money to cities that was taken away to help take care of the drug and gang problem. Forget about gun toters and think about all the people in the county that needs good roads and police and fire protection. bills should be concentrated in this area first. Get this done then work on gun bills. guns cant fix roads.

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: Ruthie Rebel

Everyone has their price. Now we know what DeVries' is. The Second Amendment reads in part "shall not infringe". There is no list of exceptions, such as shall not infringe except when I can get $100,000.

The fed gov't is out of control and violating the Constitution all the time. Our rights are disappearing faster than snow in the Sahara and we need to stand up and defend those that still remain.

We are a nation of laws and the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land. The Oath DeVries took is this or very similar:

"I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion So help me God."

The Oath does not have a hidden clause said under the breath, "...unless I can get $100,000...."

We cannot pick and choose which laws we will obey, neither can he pick and choose which parts of the Constitution he will or will not obey.

DeVries should applaud and support Kelli Ward's bill as helping him fulfill his Oath and his Duty to us, the citizens of Mohave County.

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: Mom's Apple Pie

Tea Party Kool-Aid is Nectar of the Gods, but very toxic to liberals and progressives. Perhaps we could introduce it like fluoride!

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: gianluca zanna

I will keep my comment simple: Sen. Ward you have my vote and all my support just because of this bill. It's good to know now who will stand for the Constitution and who has already sold out and who will serve as enforcers of the coming federalized new police force under the direct control of Homeland security. Wake up people, this how Fascism starts.

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: R .

I'm a gun and 2nd Amendment lover but I have to agree with DeVries on this. We can't afford to lose the foothold that the KPD have gained in their war against drugs. They've done a great job of cleaning up but there's still more and there will always be more.

Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014
Article comment by: Joe Miller

Come on chief, MAGNET can survive and thrive without having to suck on the federal teat just like the rest of us.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: R H

Chief : If the feds tell you that your grants are subject to revocation if you do not enforce federal gun laws , tell them to go pound sand (but please do so in California where they are more welcome). Seriously .... If you think that federal grants trump the oath you took to abide by The Constitution (ALL OF IT !) , you are mistaken. State law already forbids the possession of unregistered NFA devices such as the ones purchased in the investigation you mentioned so you CAN enforce all the same laws now in place. The laws we need protection from are the ones that the feds hope people like you will enforce without question (if their grant money is threatened).
Your duty is to say "Thanks , but NO THANKS!". Turn down the money and respect your oath.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Liberal Lion

It's truly sad that taxpayer money is being wasted on the salaries of legislators who do nothing but introduce completely ridiculous bills that have no chance of passing, just to put on a dog and pony show to prove how conservative they are.

And conservatives are the ones who are supposed to be so judicious with our money? LOL

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Joe Schmo

More nullification nonsense. How embarrassing. How is it this area keeps electing "constitutional scholars" like Kelli Ward when its clear she doesn't know what she is talking about. I would say to the police chiefs and city councils of the area, if you want this idiocy to stop, next time try to encourage someone from the area to run that hasn't drunk the Tea Party kool aid.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Maybe It Will But...

Maybe not cooperating with the "Feds" will be devestating...but it won't be near as devestating as the fall of the Constitution and our 2nd Amendments rights!

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Nikki B

Article III says *nothing* about nullification, so if the SCotUS ruled that, they are again, wrong (I say "again" because the ACA is not a "tax", it's a federal mandate to force commerce.)

Nullification is the last bastion that the states have against tyranny, from either party.

I'm only seeing "police chiefs" opinions about the bill in this article. I wonder what the Arizona Sheriffs think?

This article says MAGNET is a drug enforcement program, then provides an example of a whole bunch of ATF violations and *gasp* 3 whole ounces of meth.

Sounds like MAGNET is more of a firearms enforcement program. Is that what we're paying for? Why is MAGNET spending all these resources on three ounces of Meth?

It *sounds like* the police chiefs are afraid of their federal cash going away, which it would if they were unable to "assist" the feds with their firearms related busts.

I support the bill. Let Federal officers investigate federal (interstate) firearms crimes, and let state, county, and local officers worry about state, county, and local crimes.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: az sailor

The chief has already said he will not uphold his oath to support the constitution. he said if a gun ban is passed he will enforce it, regardless if it violates the constitution. any officer that does not have the sand to stand on the oath he or she took should be removed, but the cronies that are coming up behind him are no better either.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Steven Robinson

Perhaps Chief DeVries can explain just where the MAGNET program is violating Mohave County citizens their 2nd Amendment rights?

Are they enforcing unconstitutional regulations established by the Feds to receive that "whopping" $100K grant? Is Chief DeVries saying that between the three cities and the County, we can't come up with another $25K each to cover any alleged withholding of federal funds?

How much paper chasing and reporting is being required (at the program's expense) by the federal government to receive this money?

I believe the Chiefs should explain to the citizens what information is being given to Eric Holder's so-called Justice Department that violates our civil and 2nd Amendment rights.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Ridiculous Reasons

Cry me a rive chief. Everyone is worried about losing their taxpayer handouts from the feds. All the Chief cares about is not being on the uncle sugar payroll anymore. Sad. It is time to wean ourselves off the federal handout train. The war on drugs is a failure and a tax drain.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Moderately Independent

Kelli Ward is an incompetent who panders to a very small right wing fringe and should be recalled...yet another stupid bill!

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Trained Observer

Yes let's whip the gun folk into a frenzy! The NRA is led by gun manufacturers. By getting everyone to believe that their guns will be confiscated, people rush out to buy more. If Ward cannot do anything positive during her "reign" she needs to step down. I fail to see that she has added anything positive to the mix while she has been in office. Kingman and Mohave Co. are full of drugs and this bill just helps drug dealers thrive.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Yoo Hoo Kelli, Not This Nonsense, But Jobs Bills

>Does SB 12194 define what "in violation of the Second Amendment" means.

Section B of this bill would have prohibited our local police department, our sheriff, and the state police from supporting the Feds or moving toward Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. It would eliminate the local police moving against say a black separatist group or a group of drug runners bearing guns. It would greatly restrict our Arizona law enforcement agencies from "ordering" confiscation of weapons - regardless if those guns are in the hands of dangerous people.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Rick Sherwood

Here is yet another case of where the Fed's attempt to regulate our life with our money. Chief DeVries is chasing the money, seemly not concerned for our rights.
I mentioned that this is yet another case. Another example of the Fed's regulating our lives is Common Core. Their wanting to control further the educational system. Federal money(our money) does not come cheap. Rather it comes with strings attached, many strings. Senator Ward is on the right side of this issue.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: The Fox Hound

I would remind Ms Ward that we are all Americans first and Arizonans second. We are the United States of America and that comes first not the ranting of some far right group that wants to take us back to the stone age. The thing that really upsets me is that these people call themselves patriots. Give me a break these people Ms Ward included are traitors who if they can't get their way they want to burn the house down. Lucky for us the who voted for her are dying off rapidly and in less than 10 years Arizona will be a liberal state.

Posted: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Article comment by: Floyd Turbo

The Second Amendment also says "a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State...", but those with extreme gun fetishes forget the "well regulated" part. And I wonder where Ward would stand if I had, "a sincere religious belief" in keeping gun toters out of my store. But with Ward the Constitution only counts when it agrees with her strange interpretations. It is interesting that all the gun carrying liberalization laws are always opposed by police chief organizational as threats to officers, but the Wards of the world ignore those opinions when they are kowtowing to the NRA.

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