E.J. Montini, an Arizona journalist and opinion writer, has been a reliable gun hater. He is quite willing to call for the legislature to pass laws that chip away at the Second Amendment. I suspect that he wants people to follow them.
But when the legislature passes common sense laws that limit cities' power, he is all for city officials breaking the law. From azcentral.com:
Finally, it looks like someone is standing up to the biggest bully around, the Replican-controlled Arizona Legislature. As well as its sidekick and enforcer, the gun lobby.The hypocrisy is breathtaking. The State has a constitutional mandate to protect the people of the state from lower level governments. City governments are creatures of the state. Democrat party power, voter fraud, and corrupt political machines, have always been concentrated in cities. It is much harder to run a corrupt machine in rural areas. The people there are more independent, less subject to machine politics, and elect local sheriffs, instead of depending on police chiefs appointed by the political machine. Rural areas have less political patronage to give out to pay for a political machine.
Last session, Senate President Andy Biggs pushed through Senate Bill 1487, which would deny state-shared revenue to local governments that violate state law or the constitution. It also empowers any lawmaker who thinks that may have happened to ask for an investigation by Arizona’s attorney general.
To characterize the legally elected legislature as a "bully" makes some sense. Governments depend on power to enforce the laws. But our system depends on checks and balances to limit government power. One of those balances is that of the State government to prevent abuses by local governments.
In this particular instance, the legislature passed a law to prevent the ongoing abuse by local governments of destroying valuable property to make political propaganda. The abuse was exacerbated because it was designed to reduce support for a fundamental Constitutional right. The Cities insisted on destroying valuable firearms for no other purpose than propaganda.
Academics have routinely found that the "buy back" events do not produce useful results, and are a waste of police resources. From the "Freakonomics" web site:
When it comes to gun buybacks, both the theory and the data could not be clearer in showing that they don’t work. The only guns that get turned in are ones that people put little value on anyway. There is no impact on crime. On the positive side, the “cash for clunkers” program is more attractive than the gun buyback program because, as long as they are being driven, old cars pollute, whereas old guns just sit there.This is from 2009. It is not particularly unusual; academic studies are in agreement that gun "buybacks" do not reduce crime, and that police resources used for them could be better spent elsewhere.
In 2000, academic Garnen Wintemute had a definite opinion about gun "buy backs". From the chicagotribune.com:
`The continuation of buyback programs is a triumph of wishful thinking over all the available evidence.' -- Garen Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program, referring to evidence that gun buyback programs did nothing to reduce gun-related crime in several major U.S. cities.But Wintemute, 13 years later, wrote that the most useful part of such programs was propaganda. From governing.com:
“They have intangible value that we have really been underestimating,” he says. “They never will reduce rates of violent crime, but that may have been the wrong parameter to look at.”
As part of a larger discussion about public safety, Wintemute says, buybacks may play an important role in mobilizing a community to examine gun control.Using the waste of valuable resources to propagandize the public is particularly destructive of limited government. The legislature determined that such waste was not in the public interest, and would not be tolerated.
When some localities, especially the City of Tucson, blatantly violated state law and became scofflaws, the legislature passed legislation that put some teeth into the law to prevent such public law breaking.
The City of Tucson has had every opportunity to follow the law. They refuse to do so. They are now being investigated by the Attorney General. E.J. Montini calls that "bullying". But he is perfectly happy to have the state or federal government "bully" gun owners by putting more and more infringements on a Constitutionally protected right, the right to keep and bear arms.
Gun haters are all for exerting the power of government to violate Constitutional rights. But when that power is being use for the designed purpose of limiting other government entities, it is called bullying.
©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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