Take two: The Prescott Mayor and Council are set to join in unified commitment for the 2nd Amendment during the next voting meeting on February 25th.
After the February 11, 2020 Council meeting, during which they considered naming the City of Prescott a 2nd Amendment Sanctuary City, but voted to table the measure, the Council and Mayor are now approaching the issue from a different direction. One of the reasons they tabled the item, (by a vote of 6-1, with only Councilman Goode in opposition to putting it off for another meeting) was that several of the Council members were concerned about using the term, “Sanctuary City,” since it had such a strong connotation with illegal immigration advocacy.
Council voted 6-1 to table the resolution on February 11.
Although the words, “Sanctuary City” are not mentioned, the Council does affirm their commitment to the 2nd Amendment, and also puts action behind their resolve.
Other entities, such as Mohave and Yavapai Counties, simply “commit to stand and defend their rights and liberties as guaranteed by the United States Constitution…” What exactly does that mean? It is to be hoped that this commitment will not be tested. Both the Yavapai and Mohave Boards of Supervisors also resolve that they will not use county resources to enforce such laws that may be unconstitutional.
During the February 11 Council discussion, Councilman Phil Goode acknowledged that what they were considering was only a resolution, and not an ordinance, and thus is unenforceable by law. “Granted, but its intent and its message is loud and clear."
Mayor Pro Tem Billie Orr noted during the February 11 Council discussion, that she believes this is an issue that is really the responsibility of the Arizona Legislature. “If you don’t want red flag laws, then that needs to happen down at the Legislature,” Orr stated. “Our job here in the City, does not involve the red flag laws. So, I would like to see us consider reaffirming our commitment as a Council to the Second Amendment, and then also consider tabling this... until there truly is, if there ever becomes, a red flag law. There are no red flag laws in Arizona [at this time],” she continued.
“I’d like to make a motion that we find another way to reaffirm our commitment to the Second Amendment,” Orr concluded.
Councilwoman Cathey Rusing offered another idea, “I oppose red flag laws because I feel that there is no due process involved… I would like to propose to my fellow Council members that we put this on the ballot. The citizens of Prescott can have a say.”
Councilman Goode objected to the idea of putting the measure to a vote. “About the suggestion that we put it on the ballot, I think also is going to be well after the fact, even if we could suggest a ballot initiative… It would probably cost us about $80,000… We would be certain that the current legislature would already by ended by the time that should happen. I want to make sure that this current legislature, and hopefully future legislatures know that the City of Prescott and the residents herein, expect them not to pass these types of laws and that’s the purpose of me bringing this forward. I would like to move that we approve this resolution the way it’s written.”
Councilman Steve Sischka started firmly by stating, “I totally support the Second Amendment, your ability to carry arms, protect yourself. I think the big problem for me in this whole thing is the word, ’Sanctuary’.”
“Sanctuary is totally misunderstood, when I was over at our business, I tried to ask as many people as possible what they thought of this situation… One gal... said she thought this was unnecessary and the word Sanctuary really muddied the waters in this situation. I would be totally willing to revisit this at some point, but I think that Sanctuary takes away from the intent, the good intent, of what you’re trying to do here today."
Councilwoman Scholl prepared a statement that she read:
“I would like to resay that I believe that we can reaffirm our commitment to the Second Amendment and the Constitution without saying that Prescott is a Sanctuary City. I just do not think that is the best thing for our City,” Councilwoman Orr said. "I will tell you, I think this fight needs to go to the Legislature.”
With this Proclamation, the City of Prescott is taking a more proactive approach, by instructing the staff to utilize City resources, including, but not limited to, the City Lobbyist, Barry Aarons, to oppose any proposed legislation that might infringe upon the citizenry’s right to own firearms.
Tuesday’s meeting will start at 3 PM. Because this is a proclamation, comments from the public will not be taken. If there are not enough seats, then the monitors will be on in the lobby.
“With the recent proposed legislation that appears to undermine the 2nd amendment in the state and around the country, it is important to reaffirm the oath that we all took as Councilmembers to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and in particular the 2nd amendment,” Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli explained.
Councilman Phil Goode, who originally put the item on the agenda for the February 11 meeting, approves of the Proclamation, although he appears to think that more can be done. “At least we’ll be on the record with this Proclamation,” he said. “And I support having our legislative advocate represent our views in this matter down at the Capitol.”
Councilman Steve Blair, who was pretty quiet during the February 11 meeting, also approves of the Proclamation. “I am good with it. Sanctuary has a negative connotation to it, and I didn't want to do harm to our community. But, I am good with this.”
Councilwoman Billie Orr believes this is the right approach. "I’m thrilled that we’re doing this. We said we were tabling this, but we talked about using our resources to stand up against laws against the 2nd amendment. We are putting this in writing and it is a strong statement."
"Stop the bills before they becomes law,” Orr said. “It’s the best way.”