Arizona's Maricopa County Becomes Most Populous in Nation To Approve 2A Sanctuary Status


The Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County, Arizona, voted Wednesday to become a “Second Amendment Preservation County,” making it the largest in the United States to take such a stand.

The resolution — passed by a 4-1 margin by the county’s board of supervisors — “affirms its support of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and declares Maricopa County a Second Amendment Preservation County.”

Maricopa County (which includes Phoenix and the surrounding communities) is the fourth most populous and fastest growing county in the U.S., with over 4.4 million people.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman, who introduced the resolution, said before Wednesday night’s vote, “This is a resolution that reaffirms our support to the Constitution in its entirety.”

“I have a district that has far flung people away from law enforcement and they feel, the good guys feel that they need to make sure that they never have their rights infringed on arming themselves to protect their property, their homes and their family,” Hickman added, whose 4th district lies on the west side of Phoenix.

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Steve Gallardo, the only Democrat on the five member board, voted a “resounding no” on the resolution, calling it “divisive” and “partisan.”

“Resolutions should pull people together,” the supervisor said. “Not be divisive. Not be mean-spirited. Not be insensitive. Not be partisan.”

Did Maricopa County do the right thing with this vote?

Prior to the vote, Supervisor Steve Chucri moved to strike language stating that county resources and personnel would not be used “to infringe on the people’s constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.”

Recent Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions passed in other counties, including Yavapai and Mojave in central and northern Arizona, included this type of provision.

Chucri said that law enforcement officials had “expressed some concerns” about including the language in Maricopa County’s resolution.

The supervisors agreed to pull the paragraph.

GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, whose 4th congressional district includes parts of Maricopa, Yavapai, and Mojave counties, expressed disappointment that the board of supervisors voted for a watered down resolution.

“This resolution is weak tea compared to Mohave County and Yavapai County,” Gosar said in a statement to The Western Journal.

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“This resolution language appears to simply acknowledge the Second Amendment but there is no effort to protect it by declaring gun control laws void in the County or a refusal to use taxpayer money to enforce unconstitutional laws,” he continued.

“In light of radical leftist efforts to ban gun ownership and gun manufacturing in Arizona, the county’s limp response is disappointing,” Gosar concluded.

Meanwhile, fellow Republican Rep. Debbie Lesko offered her support for the resolution.

“Maricopa County residents like myself cherish their constitutional rights,” she said in a statement to The Western Journal. “That is why I am glad to see the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors affirm the county’s support of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. In Congress, I will continue to fight for our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Hickman defended what the supervisors ultimately approved.

“Declaring Maricopa County a Second Amendment Preservation County was not meant to be divisive or restrictive to current law enforcement activities,” the supervisor said in a statement.

“It was about restating our oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Some of our citizens who lawfully possess firearms under the 2nd Amendment are concerned there are efforts to restrict ownership and access similar to what is happening in New Mexico. This resolution simply states the Board of Supervisors will not be a part of those efforts,” Hickman explained.

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone, a Democrat, chastised the board of supervisors for even considering the language precluding county resources from being used to enforce whatever gun-control laws that may pass.

“Our democracy was designed to incorporate due process to write new laws and eliminate ineffective or unconstitutional laws,” he said in a statement provided to The Western Journal. “Denying, ignoring or refusing to recognize and apply the laws as they are written is not within the authority of law enforcement professionals.”

“Terms such as Second Amendment Preservation or ‘Sanctuary’ become an excuse to circumvent the law and defy due process and democracy,” he continued.

“As a career law enforcement professional and the elected Sheriff, I will never allow a political resolution to supersede existing law or interfere with my responsibility and my duty to constitutionally enforce the law,” Penzone pledged.

Former six-term Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio believes that Penzone is “not really a Second Amendment guy because he’s getting pressure from his Democrat colleagues, including George Soros who pumped in $3 million to help me be defeated in the last election.”

Politico reported prior to the November 2016 election that Soros personally contributed $2 million to a super PAC aimed at defeating Arpaio, while other billionaires added over $1 million more to the effort.

It was Soros’ “single biggest investment in a local race” in 2016, according to the news outlet.

Arpaio, who is running to win his sheriff job back, did not want to speak specifically to the language of Maricopa County’s Second Amendment preservation resolution without having time to carefully review it, but noted Arizona is a pro-gun state, which recognizes the right of citizens to concealed carry without a permit.

“I’m for people being able to bear arms in this county,” Arpaio said.

“I fully agree that private citizens with weapons can do a great service,” he added, arguing mass shootings are an example when a good guy with a gun can make all the difference in ending the incident quickly.

Dudley Brown, president of the National Association of Gun Rights, told The Western Journal that the Second Amendment sanctuary movement that has arisen across the country is “a direct result of the gun control agenda being pushed in red and blue states alike.”

Earlier this month, Democrats in the Arizona legislature introduced legislation that would ban so-called “assault weapons” in the Grand Canyon State.

Senate Bill 1625 is not likely to pass in the narrowly Republican-controlled legislature this session, but it is seen as a political play to try to flip Arizona from red to blue in the fall.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
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