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Fighting an Illegal Firearms Mandate

Arizona Citizens Defense League, et al. v. Pima County, et al.

Case Status

Date Filed

April 26, 2024

Last Step

Filed complaint in Pima County Superior Court.

Next Step

Await county response.

Case Overview

Arizona law broadly prohibits political subdivisions from enacting almost any kind of firearm-related ordinance.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors is the latest local government entity to thumb their nose at the state’s firearm statutes by unlawfully enacting an ordinance that subjects firearm owners to fines of up to $1,000 for failing to report the loss or theft of a firearm to the government within 48 hours. Members of the Board say that the restriction is necessary to combat the alleged problem of prohibited possessors acquiring firearms from so-called straw purchasers (people who buy firearms legally, then turn around and sell them illegally).

But local ordinances relating to the possession, sale, transfer, purchase, or acquisition of firearms are expressly preempted by state law, as are ordinances that are more prohibitive or more punitive than state law. With very few exceptions, only the state legislature can pass firearm-related regulations—not political subdivisions such as counties. This prevents the state from becoming a patchwork of varying firearm laws and ensures that the fundamental rights to keep and bear arms are uniformly protected throughout Arizona.

That’s why the Goldwater Institute, through its Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation, filed a Complaint against Pima County in state court on behalf of the Arizona Citizens Defense League (a firearms advocacy group based in Pima County) and Chris King (a U.S. Air Force veteran and NRA-certified firearms instructor who lives in Pima County) challenging the unlawful ordinance.

Case Logistics

The Goldwater Institute represents the Arizona Citizens Defense League (“AzCDL”), and Christopher M. King. AzCDL is an Arizona nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization based in Pima County, dedicated to defending the right of self-defense and the rights to keep and bear arms as protected by the U.S. and Arizona constitutions. Mr. King is a firearm owner and taxpayer residing in Pima County. He is a member of AzCDL, holds a concealed carry permit, is an NRA-certified firearms instructor, and is a retired U.S. Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (“EOD”) Technician. Both AzCDL as an organization and Mr. King individually are adversely affected by the Ordinance.

Pima County and the members of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, in their official capacities, are the defendants in this case.

The case was filed in the Superior Court of Arizona in and for Pima County on April 26, 2024.

Case Documents

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