(Arizona Republic, 4/6/99)
The preemption battle is really about disarming America

by Alan Korwin

Politically motivated lower-court judges recently gutted Arizona's preemption law -- the rule that requires uniform gun laws statewide. Legislators are now working to strengthen the preemption law against such abuse, and they should be supported.

Residents need and deserve uniform laws statewide.

If one city needs protection against some sort of crime, all cities should have it. Pass it once, uniformly, statewide. Don't exclude some cities from law and order.

Cities have no way to inform travelers of their unique rules, nor should they have to; and if they don't, they set themselves up for lawsuits and unjust application of the laws. Don't "create" criminals out of honest people passing through. Violating the spirit of preemption is like setting traps for innocent people.

Everyone should respect Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution, for all the right reasons -- it says that the right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired.

Ignoring that Constitutional requirement violates the oath of office. Arguing that a lower court ruling rewrites the Constitution is reprehensible. Decent politicians should argue the opposite -- the lower court's action is a despicable affront to the citizenry, our history and existing law.

A one-city gun law could disarm me, but would not disarm a criminal -- it's already 100% illegal for criminals to carry firearms anywhere. Cities are talking about selectively outlawing possession of private property. They don't have that power, nor should they.

A crucial liberty in America is, "No crime, no time." You must do something wrong before you're guilty. Possession of a gun isn't a crime unless there's a victim. A woman who goes about her day with a handgun in her handbag and then goes home should not be subject to arrest.

Who do these politicians think they are, anyway, prohibiting a young woman -- or anyone's -- ability to defend themselves? We must ask if they have ulterior motives, trying to prevent innocent people from having guns.

Because there is an ulterior motive. This is not about preemption. Insiders know it's simply one more tactic in the battle to disarm America.

This is incremental infringement that flows perniciously through a thousand cracks in the fortress of the Bill of Rights. It is a continual flow, a festering wound in a decaying body of rights. This is really about stopping honest people from having guns altogether.

People working to deny your rights never put it bluntly, but this is about fixing it so that only the rulers are armed. By working against the right to bear arms, a right we have always possessed, they show they're no longer working for us, but working instead for a corrupted system our founders warned us about, 200 years ago. And now we've forgotten their warnings.

The Luby's massacre in Texas, where a maniac murdered more than 20 people, is not something cities should facilitate. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, a customer that fatal day, had a clear shot at the madman, but her gun was in the car because local law prohibited carry. Because she was disarmed by the state, she saw both her parents murdered. Today, she's a legislator, and says if she could instead be in jail for illegal carry, so her parents could see their grandchild, she would gladly trade.

Some people, influenced by the media and with little direct experience, irrationally fail to associate guns with liberty and freedom, saving lives, stopping crime and for safety and defense. Using guns for mayhem -- the only illegal use -- is not why the public is armed. Guns save lives.

Don't let local officials trample your rights, forcing you and your neighbors into defenseless no-win situations. Strengthen the preemption law for the benefit of all Arizonans. Tell your representatives to enact HB2615.


Alan Korwin is the author of The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide, now in it's 19th edition, and writes The Doctor Zero Reports about Y2K. His website is

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