With an overwhelming majority Arizona's Legislature became the first in the nation to pass a resolution recognizing the legitimacy, values and traditions that gun shows represent in America. The resolution will be transmitted to the United States House of Representatives and Senate.
This "post card to congress" was passed today by the Arizona Senate by a wide margin with 19 senators voting yes, 9 voting no and 2 not voting. It passed the Arizona House on March 4, 2003 with 39 members voting yes, 18 voting no, and 3 not voting.
In recent months the US Congress has considered numerous measures that would severely restrict gun shows and possibly drive them out of business. One measure is sponsored by Senator John McCain of Arizona and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
This is a great victory for gun owners because it sends a clear message to the US Congress that gun shows are a great American past time that should be allowed to continue operating, unhindered by further regulations which threaten to shut them down.
Todd J. Rathner
Member, NRA Board of Directors
Text of resolution follows:
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION 2025
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
RECOGNIZING GUN SHOWS.
Whereas, the Arizona Constitution, in article II, section 26, recognizes an individual right to bear arms by stating unambiguously that, "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired"; and
Whereas, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in United States v. Emerson found, in harmony with long-standing United States Supreme Court jurisprudence, that the phrase "the right of the people" used in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is as much of an individual right guarantee as the identical phrase in the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth Amendments; and
Whereas, courts have found that gun shows are places where citizens exercise their First Amendment rights to free commercial speech and to peaceably assemble; and
Whereas, in order for law-abiding residents to exercise their state and federal constitutional rights to keep and bear arms they must have the means of purchasing and transferring arms by engaging in a system of free enterprise and commerce; and
Whereas, since territorial days, gun shows have provided the state's citizens with a place where like-minded people are able to gather to exercise their rights and to be freely involved in the exchange of firearms and related equipment and supplies; and
Whereas, thousands of Arizonans attend gun shows annually to take part in wholesome family events that generate substantial positive economic and commercial impact on the state and its political subdivisions; and
Whereas, the so-called gun show "loophole" is a fallacy generated by groups whose ultimate goal is to eliminate gun shows and all private firearms transactions; and
Whereas, the same federal and state laws that apply to firearm transfers outside of gun shows apply equally to all transfers inside gun shows; and
Whereas, the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the Department of Justice, in a survey of more than 18,000 prison inmates documented that less than 0.6 per cent of criminals who used firearms acquired their firearms from gun shows; and
Whereas, terrorist organizations are based in areas of the world that are awash in weaponry not available at gun shows, including fully automatic firearms, rocket launchers, grenades, mortars and other explosives. The claims that these terrorist groups are acquiring their weaponry from American gun shows are baseless in fact; and
Whereas, the terrorist attacks against this nation are being manipulated by special interests to advance their political agenda; and
Whereas, this state believes the primary responsibility of government is to preserve the freedom of its residents.
Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the State of Arizona, the Senate concurring:
1. That the Members of the Legislature recognize that gun shows provide a safe, historical, valuable and indispensable community service for those citizens who choose to exercise their constitutional rights.
2. That such peaceable public assemblies should be protected from those who would further regulate, encumber or eliminate them through a campaign of misinformation.