Council Memo

Adoption of Resolution No. 2020-1734 Supporting the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and Declaring the City of Prescott a "Second Amendment Sanctuary City"


Department:City ManagerSponsors:


  1. Printout
  2. Resolution No. 2020-1734 - Second Amendment (This file has not yet been converted to a viewable format)

Document Comments

Recommended Action: MOVE to adopt Resolution No. 2020-1734.


Background & Summary


Staff has received a request from two Councilmembers regarding adoption of a Resolution for consideration supporting the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Councilman Goode and Councilmember Rusing requested that this resolution be placed on the agenda for consideration.







Meeting History

Feb 11, 2020 3:00 PM  City Council Voting Meeting
draft Draft

Mayor Mengarelli thanked the public for being present and asked that everyone respect decorum and limit comments to two minutes without repeating comments previously made.

City Clerk Sarah Siep read the proposed Resolution.

Councilman Goode commented that the intent of this proposed Resolution is to send a clear message to the state legislature that the City of Prescott City Council will reaffirm their oath to support the Constitution of the United States and laws of Arizona. Here in AZ and elsewhere we are seeing increasing legislation that will violate rights protections under the 2nd Amendment. He addressed comments that he has heard regarding this item as follows:

1. Concern: This is only a Resolution and not an Ordinance and therefore has no force of law; Response: the intent is clear.

2. Concern: A Resolution isn’t necessary since our rights are already protected; Response: there are three laws proposed that will likely infringe on 2nd Amendment protections (HB2321, SB1164, and SB1626)

3. Concern: Yavapai County already approved a Resolution so this is redundant; Response: we have our own law enforcement agency which has rights within city limits and could be put in danger while enforcing proposed seizure laws. Four other counties in Arizona have adopted such Resolutions Mohave, La Paz, Apache and Yavapai Counties and Bullhead City as well.

4. Concern: It is not up to Prescott City Officials to determine what laws are constitutional or unconstitutional; Response: he acknowledges this is fact, which is why Section 3 is included in the Resolution

5. Concern: Potential economic damage from state budget consequences to the adoption of this Resolution; Response: public policy should not be held hostage to speculative possibilities and our constitutional rights are not for sale.

Interim City Attorney Matt Podracky addressed Council regarding the proposed Resolution and the responsibility of the city attorney's office to review the practical real world effects on law enforcement and the potential “chilling effect”, if there is a potential possibility of a loss of federal and/or state funding with adoption of Resolution. His concern primarily stems from the potential impacts related to SB1487 which states that at request of one or more member of legislature the Attorney General may investigate action taken by the body that may violate state law or the constitution of the state of Arizona. In addition, there is potential legislation being introduced (HB2093) which would look to legislature to review what is constitutional and then could cause issues with SB1487 and having Prescott be investigated with adoption of the proposed Resolution. If this were to happen state shared revenue would be frozen immediately and this is would have a major impact on our budget, so Council must be cognizant of this. Finally, Mr. Podracky addressed the fact that the city would be covered by the county's Resolution.

Councilman Goode asked that if HB2093 were to pass and therefore lead to a challenge, could the Resoluton preemptively be rescinded.

Mr. Podracky confirmed that was an option.

Public Comment:

Warren Darrow, member of the public, addressed Council asking them to not adopt the Resolution as it involves a heated divisive political issue that raises partisan temperatures. He asked why Council would address this Amendment and not others, and stated that this would undermine our welcoming environment in Prescott.

John Starr, member of the public, thanked Council for their service and stated that he moved here because it was safe. His concern with the word "sanctuary" is that as he understands it would remove the need for a background check. He addressed that he feels it is ludicrous to pass a redundant Resolution at the chance of having to rescind it anyway. Another right is that to life and he doesn't want that threatened by people who should not have firearms.

Tamara Fearns, member of the public, addressed Council as a gun user with two Marine sons. She stated that this country exists because of the second amendment and we should be ashamed that this issue is even being discussed because it is our heritage.

Barbara Jacobson, member of the public, thanked Council for their time and stated that this type of negative rhetoric is unnecessary, the state and federal government will handle this we don't need to do this.

Greg Feans, member of the public, addressed Council as a gun owner and veteran. Part of the history of our country is fighting for our rights and he believes in the constitution and upholding its values.

Donna Vermer, member of the public, addressed Council as the Founder of Well Armed Women and expressed her support for the Resolution.

Jan Baron, member of the public, addressed Council stating that she chose Prescott because the open carry law made her feel safe. She doesn't feel the Resolution is redundant because our gun rights are under attack and we need to stand strong.

Steve Zipperman, member of the public, addressed Council regarding the addition of the second amendment in our constitution and the importance of this issue with the threat of proposed red flag laws. He feels Council must make it their job to protect our rights and take that seriously, it is important to make a statement.

Ross Dowland, member of the public, feels that this is not the type of thing that should not be on the Agenda. He feels Council is going down a slippery slope by doing this and opening the door to other things that should not be on the Agenda. Council and city business is streets, sewer, water and utilities, etc not constitutional laws.

Patty Willis, member of the public, addressed Council as a pastor in the community regarding the divides that issues like this cause. It is not a good idea or the time for a Resolution that will elevate everyone's differences, we need to talk and find a way to come together. She encourage Council to vote no on this Resolution and is will only divide us further.

Myrna Lieberman, member of thee public, addressed Council in support of the Resolution that is a preemptive strike against proposed red flag legislation. Women in Arizona and across the country should be able to arm themselves for self defense especially when the government cannot be trusted to protect us.

Jeff Timm, representative from Congressmen Gossar’s Office, addressed Council with a letter of support of Resolution No. 2020-1734 from Congressman Gossar and his stance on the proposed red flag legislation.

Robert Shimizu, member of the public, addressed Council as a concealed carry owner in support of the constitution and the Resolution.

Phil Whitehead, member of the public, addressed Council as a county resident for more than 30 years regarding matter of redundancy comments that have come up and the need for multiple things to make sure there is support. He commented that talking will not make the problems go away, and that when seconds count the cops are minutes away and people need to be able to protect themselves.

Glenn Martin, member of the public, addressed Council regarding opposition to anti constitutional red flag laws. We don’t want people who are a threat to have guns but due process and unlawful search and seizure are important rights. Thanked Councilman Goode for standing up for the constitution. Council swore an oath to defend the Constitution and this is where the rubber meets the road so he encouraged Council to vote in support of this Resolution.

Randy Hayes, member of the public, addressed Council regarding the animosity and negativity that this proposed Resolution is causing, the second amendment is guaranteed by the Constitution. There are over 300 million guns in this country, there is no way the government could come and take them all. He stated that this type of Resolution causes issues in the community and opens the city up to liability in the case of wrongful deaths.

Russ Pilcher, member of the public, addressed Council as a gun owner and retired marine. He is not anti-gun but is intolerant of unrestricted access to weapons, and if this Resolution passes you are opting to ignore laws then I will assume you are giving me the right to ignore the laws as well.

Maria Lyman, member of the public, addressed Council regarding her family’s history of service to this Country but said she is opposed to the Resolution, particularly because there is already discussion regarding rescinding it in the future. She encouraged Council to join Mayor's Against Illegal Guns to end gun violence nationwide. Council should be proactive and bring everyone together rather than splitting them apart.

Regina Pecorino, member of the public, addressed Council regarding her work with the VFW in the community. If our officers have to face red flag laws that will put them in danger and negatively impact their families. She stated that criminal do not fill out forms or answer questions regarding their status when obtaining a gun anyway.

John Stankewicz, member of the public, addressed Council stating that he has trained military and civilians all of the world and he is hearing from most of them that they feel the amendments to the Constitution need to be protected. This Resolution is important to send a message, and he supports it.

Ken Fritts, member of the public, addressed Council in support of the Resolution and asked Council to vote in support of this protection of our constitutional rights.

John Schuderer, member of the public, addressed Council as a survivor of family suicide and discussed the impact that guns have with regard to suicide. He stated that he questions the need for a Resolution like this as it pours gasoline on an already volatile topic.

Ralph Hess, member of the public, addressed Council regarding the fact that he feels the language in the Resolution is simply a reiteration of the oath they took, and how does a sanctuary city look different from what we have now. This doesn’t really have an Everybody’s Hometown look or feel to it, and he encouraged Council to do something that may actually help such as challenging the legislature at a higher level.

Larry Jacobs, member of the public, addressed Council regarding issues that impact law enforcement officers when they have an officer involved shooting. Response times are anywhere from 3-5 minutes and would like support of second amendment and Resoluitons like these, he encouraged Council to vote yes on this Resolution.

Mark Smith, member of the public, addressed Council thanking them for their consideration of adoption of the Resolution even though it carries no force of law. Judicial review takes many years, and therefore the Resolution is not even as adequate as he would like, the supreme law of the land should be enforced as such.

Steve Tureaud, member of the public, addressed Council regarding his leaving California because of threats to his rights, deserves to live with freedoms granted by constitution. He asked Council to protect the constitution.

Craig Kiggens, member of the public, addressed Council regarding the founding fathers and their love of our country. Continuous assault in this country to infringe on our rights in the constitution. Respect the police but they are minutes away and there are soft targets all around us. This is not redundant, but is affirming our rights.

Richard Thompson, member of the public, addressed Council regarding his support of the Resolution.

Linda Thompson, member of the public, addressed Council regarding her support of the Resolution. She said that she doesn't understand people who are against this when the second amendment is being threatened.

Mayor Pro Tem Orr commented that she has lost a lot of sleep over this item, and that when she took her oath of office she intended to to protect all 27 amendments to the Constitution and do what is best for the citizens of Prescott. She has friends on all sides of this, and feels that we can do something without becoming a “sanctuary city” as she is opposed to that language and would rather reaffirm Council's commitment to the Constitution without having that. This fight needs to go to the legislature, Council's job in the city does not involve the red flag laws. She recommended that this item be tabled until that actually happens. Her concern is that the risk of losing shared revenues that everyone works together to get is too great.

There was a motion by Mayor Pro Tem Orr and second by Councilman Sischka at this time to table the item.

Councilmember Rusing thanked everyone for attending the meeting and participating in the discussion, and read the second and fourteenth amendments. She stated that she opposes red flag laws because there is no due process involved, but that she is not in favor of voting on this item today as it should be on the ballot so the citizens have a say about it.

Councilwoman Scholl thanked the public for attending and read the following prepared statement regarding the proposed Resolution:

"Adopting this Resolution makes a statement that we, as a City, will pick and choose which laws we direct our police department to enforce. This contradicts the oaths of office that we took. Not only did we swear that we would uphold the Constitution of the United States, but we also swore that we would uphold the Constitution and Laws of the State of Arizona. We are not judges. This council does not perform judicial review. Therefore, we should not be making determinations on which state laws we choose to enforce.

Additionally, the language outlined in the proposed Resolution is no different than what is currently being enforced. If after complete judicial review, a law is deemed to be unconstitutional, it would no longer be a law and not enforceable. With or without this Resolution, the City of Prescott would not enforce laws that have been found to be unconstitutional by the courts. This Resolution doesn’t change anything and is simply a political statement, and I don’t think that the City should be in the business of making political statements on state and federal issues. It’s beyond the scope of City business.

I am disappointed to be put in a position where some may perceive my position on this Resolution to mean that I do not support the Constitution of the United States. I take my oath of office seriously and would never purposefully choose not to defend the rights of Americans that are outlined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, as a direct descendant of George Read of Delaware, who signed both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States, I greatly understand the gravity of protecting our rights as citizens. I personally do not have an issue with people choosing to responsibly exercise their Second Amendment rights. However, I do not feel that declaring Prescott as a “Second Amendment Sanctuary City” is necessary and in the best interests of the City."

Councilman Goode stated that when he suggested the option of rescinding the Resolution it was that it would be an option to deal with consequences of a potential investigation from the passing of proposed legislation but it would not be his intention to do that. It is not good public policy to assume things that might happen. He also commented that a ballot initiative is not likely because of the high cost for a special election and that it would come after the legislative session closes anyway. He moved to approve the Resolution the way it is currently written.

There was no second to Councilman Goode's motion.

Councilman Sischka stated that he supports the second amendment and that he believes the biggest issue with the situation is the word “sanctuary” which is very misunderstood and muddies the waters. He is willing to review something like this in the future but would not agree with moving forward with it today.

Mayor Pro Tem Orr reiterated that Council can reaffirm their commitment to the Constitution without designating Prescott as a sanctuary city. SB1497 is a reality and it could hurt our city. She again moved to table the item and think of another way to do it.

MOVER:Billie Orr, Mayor Pro Tem
SECONDER:Steve Sischka, Councilman
AYES:Greg Mengarelli, Billie Orr, Steve Blair, Cathey Rusing, Alexa Scholl, Steve Sischka
NAYS:Phil Goode