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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news August 19, 2014

1/22/2013 9:59:00 PM
YCSO Sheriff Scott Mascher says he won't cooperate with gun bans
Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher
Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher
Prescott Council turns down assault weapon ban proposal

The Daily Courier


PRESCOTT - Mirroring the intensity of the ongoing national debate, emotions ran high Tuesday when the Prescott City Council considered a proposed citywide ban on semiautomatic assault weapons.

More than 50 people turned out for the discussion, and about two dozen of them made pitches to the council - both for and against the ban. After virtually every comment, a portion of the audience responded with applause and, sometimes, whoops of support.

The council listened to more than an hour of comments before opting not to deviate from state law on the matter.

By a 7-0 vote, council members denied the petition by retired Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Ralph Hess for a citywide ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Leading off the discussion, new City Attorney Jon Paladini offered the legal opinion that the Arizona State Legislature had "clearly preempted" the city's authority to impose such a ban.

"If adopted, (the ban) likely would be challenged, and the city would not be successful," Paladini told the council.

But Hess and several members of the audience pushed the city to test the matter by imposing the ban.

Pointing out that city officials had broached the possibility of a legal challenge of the state's recent election-consolidation law, Hess said, "Is your election cycle more important than protecting the citizens of Prescott?"

He added that he believed the proposed ban would be both "in conformance with the case law," and "not unconstitutional."

But for council members, the matter appeared to center on personal views.

Councilman Chris Kuknyo, for instance, read a strongly worded statement in support of gun rights. Along with the personal protection that he said guns offer, Kuknyo added, "An armed populace has also been a key to the defense of our nation."

Although noting that Hess' petition was made with "good intentions," Kuknyo said, it "is addressing the symptoms and not the illness and I will not be supporting it."

Councilman Charlie Arnold also voiced his opposition to the ban, noting, "I'm a law-abiding citizen who is a proud gun owner."

Gun supporters in the audience offered similar comments.

"The Second Amendment was put in the Constitution to protect us from rogue governments," said audience member Sandra Smith. "We need to keep it and stand by it."

Jim Campbell told the council that he previously worked as a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles County, where, he said, an assault weapons ban was in effect. "It was a disgusting failure," Campbell said, adding that the ban contributed to his decision to move to Arizona.

And Dan Pederson of Classic Barrel and Gunworks brought up the impact that such a ban could have on the local economy. "There would be somewhere close to 1,000 jobs lost in this community," he said.

But others in the audience voiced nearly opposite views, maintaining that limiting semiautomatic assault weapons was the sensible thing to do.

Hugh Mayer noted that the ratification of the Second Amendment occurred in 1791, when guns were largely single-shot.

"Guns have changed a lot since 1791," he said. "As situations change, so must human controls."

Jane Cheek, pastor at the First Congregational Church in Prescott, urged the council members to consider the city's image as Arizona's Christmas City - a label that she said was in conflict with violence.

"Arizona's Christmas City is about the birth of Jesus, and Jesus was a non-violent man," Cheek said.

And Mike Wilke suggested that the city should schedule a forum on the issue of violence, of which he said "gun control is only part of the issue."

Hess' proposal targeted "semiautomatic weapons," including firearms that fire a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger that automatically chambers the next round for firing and employs a magazine.

It defined "large capacity ammunition-feeding device" as a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device manufactured that has a capacity of more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Lisa Irish
The Daily Courier

Yavapai County Sheriff Scott Mascher confirmed Tuesday he sent out a memo about recent gun control issues last week in which he stated, "As Sheriff, I refuse to participate or cooperate with any unconstitutional order that will infringe upon our Second Amendment rights."

In an attempt to prevent mass shootings like those at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 and an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in July 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama proposed banning further sales of assault weapons, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets, closing background check loopholes for gun buyers, increasing school safety, and providing easier access to mental healthcare.

"While most Americans believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to bear arms, they also believe that we all share a responsibility to take all reasonable steps to ensure that guns are used safely and don't fall into the wrong hands," United States Attorney for the District of Arizona John S. Leonardo wrote in a letter released Friday. "The president's proposals recognize both our right and our obligations."

Recently, four members of the Arizona State House of Representatives introduced House Bill 2291 that would amend Arizona Revised Statues to make unenforceable in Arizona any federal law, rule, regulation or order after Jan. 1, 2013, that tries to ban or restrict ownership of semiautomatic firearms, magazines, or accessories or requires them to be registered. The bill also would make any federal government employee who tries to enforce such a federal order guilty of a Class 6 felony.

Mascher said the memo he sent staff describes his feelings on the conversation about deterring gun violence going on across the country.

"As your Sheriff, I have taken an oath of office to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States and to protect the people of Yavapai County," said Masher in the memo he sent out Friday. "I take this oath seriously."

"Now we have politicians that want to prevent millions of law-abiding, honest Americans from owning certain firearms and magazines because of the mentally ill and violent criminal offenders," Masher said in the memo. "I do not believe that extreme acts of violent criminal behavior should ever misguide a politician into enacting orders or laws that would take away constitutional rights and liberties from law-abiding Americans."

Mascher said he wrote the memo after deputies, support staff and community members asked him questions about his stance on Second Amendment rights and recent gun control proposals, as well as his concerns about safety after school shootings in other states.

"At every community get-together I've gone to for the past few months, at least one person has asked me about it in one way or another," Mascher said. "It's something that's obviously on people's minds."

An employee at Prescott Valley Gun said customers have not been asking them questions about gun control or buying more semi-automatics or high-capacity magazines. "It's just been business as usual."

Mascher said people's biggest concern is "that their individual rights and liberties as an American are being chipped away at, because politicians are looking at the issue, creating controversy, and saying, 'We just need to start limiting guns.'"

Mascher said he does not agree with the politicians.

"I've never looked at this as a gun control issue," said Mascher, who has served 29 years in law enforcement in Yavapai County. "I've always looked at it as a mental health or crime issue."

Mascher plans to meet with the sheriff's association in the next three weeks to get their thoughts on the issue.

"Things here are different than in a more urban environment where police are minutes away," Mascher said. "Here, a deputy could be 45 minutes away, and people have a right to defend themselves."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Article comment by: Larry Wilson

Actually and Assault Rifle is a fully automatic weapon. 28+ years in the Army of teaching all kinds of weapons taught me that much. NON of these rifels that they are calling Assault Rifle will go into any fully automatic firing position. AT ALL! The next things is, if we the public don't need a AR then why would the police? To defend themselves? Then tell me why they get more or better protection then my family or me. Oh, they are more important.....WRONG...I am!

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Article comment by: Larry Wilson

Let me get this right, this was from a Judge? He's retired for a reason I would guess. He went to the same Constitution classes that the President went to I'll bet. I say this again....what part of "Shall Not Be Infringed" Don't they understand? It's not a debate when it's our rights. The paper does not give us these right..we have them period and now should be every messed with.

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: rosemary riddle

obama is overstepping his line again - first and foremost these kids that have ravaged like they have had a history of bully or being bullied and it had been noted and nothing was done - that should be step number one - we need to identify seriously ill kids - do not wait till they are old enough to get a gun or make a bomb have you forgotten Oklahoma - sure there may be the one exception but most of these atrocities had signs way ahead and no one does anything about it till it is too late and then blames the gun and gun owner

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: Charles Yuditsky

To: An American
30 out of the 33 county sherriffs in (D) New Mexico have said the same thing
Unfortunately Sheriff Dan Huston went against his word when he allowed and provided a SWAT team to the DHS for the siezure of 1500 collectible firearms from a man in Bernalillo County with out charge. I understand that the DHS made and signed their own warrant.

To: An Observer
"The problem is that 1st responders will be MOWED DOWN by ANGRY GUN NUTS"
No those gun nuts will be supporting with force the decent, righteous and Constitution-abiding first responders. The only gun-nuts will be those who are attacking regular Americans at the behest of a tyrant.
To: Stone Barrington
"This is about a politician with incredible power who decides HE can make up the rules as he goes along."
I answered yourconcern in full above.

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Article comment by: Charles Yuditsky

Ahhh here we go.
Sheriff Mascher is taking a principled stance regarding the right of the people to keep and bear arms. It is one that I will support materially if needed. It is not making up laws as he goes along, it is stopping those who do. How? Militias of the day when the Constitution was written were armed with militarily effective weapons and the right to do so was explicitly stated in the Constitution itself. They did not face the British with turkey guns and crossbows. (Thought some actually were forced to use pitchforks since they could not afford a gun.) So any attempt to remove military arms from the hand of the people of this nation would have to be done by CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT and by no other means at all. The anti-gunners are attempting to do just that without proper recourse to an amendment. They are certainly the ones who are making up the laws as they go along.

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Article comment by: Gary Smith

I am still amazed how many people think that the president is elected by the people.. (electoral college) anyway it is good that the sherriff will not participate or cooperate in the enforcment but will he prevent the feds from doing it. from what i have heard alot of the sherrifs are saying they will not participate or cooperate but will they do anything about it when the feds come in and start arresting people. Not participating or cooperating is NOT defending the constitution and protecting the people.

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: @ He Received

Yes, you are mistaken.

While true that Sheriff Mascher was appointed, it was not by the prior Sheriff but rather by the County Board of Supervisors. And that was in 2011.

In 2012 he was up for election and was listed as a candidate on the Primary ballot. He won that election and due to being the only candidate listed it was not necessary for him to be placed on the ballot for the general election, though he was.

He has taken a stance, that while not popular with all of the electorate, lets everyone know where his allegiance lies. With the people and voters of Yavapai County and the State of Arizona.

Now if we could only convince him to stop taking the Federal Grants and Subsidies...

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Article comment by: Fame is Fleeting

Is Mascher's fifteen minutes up yet??

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: B C

Happy to be living in Yavapai County! Thank you Sheriff!

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: What else does he choose to ignore?

Sheriff Mascher also does not believe in enforcing or referring to INS illegal immigration offenses (although he's never released a statement to the press bragging about it.) I'm just curious how you gun-loving, Constitution-waving Conserves feel about him choosing to ignore immigration laws.

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: He Received Zero Votes

If I'm not mistaken, Mascher was never elected to this office. As I recall, he was appointed by the duly elected sheriff who bailed on us.

Just a fun fact to keep in mind while you clean your guns and sing his praises.

P.S. - Make sure those guns are empty (much like your head) before you start cleaning...

Posted: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Article comment by: Democratic Sheep In Republican Coat

This guy, an employee of the system his entire life and earning retirement along with his regular salary, has lived off the democratic shelf his entire career. What he claims to despise is making him a lot of money right now and yet he takes the republican stance for what? Job security? The more Obama and the Dems legislate, the more safe this guy's job becomes. So ask yourselves- is the nature if politics associating to one opinion or learning to use one to play the other? Either way, it's political entities using a very old method- divide and conquer. WE THE PEOPLE should dictate our will and law, not some little girl in a YCSO uniform speaking for HIS OWN benefit.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: An American

30 out of the 33 county sherriffs in (D) New Mexico have said the same thing, along with many others in many states....I don't think he is grandstanding...

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Nate Dogg

An official who takes this kind of power unto himself takes it away from the people.

I am not talking about you, but about the MAJORITY who elected President Obama and whose representatives would need to vote as a majority to pass a restrictive gun law.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Mr Maverick

TO: Ms Maverick - I am sorry lady but you have me mixed up with someone who cares what you write. Gee I must be getting through when people respond to me. LOL But how can this 'ongoing investigation' why are we denied our legal right tot he names of these officers? It is PUBLIC information. Any citizen gets their name in the newspaper and on the radio daily. What gives them this protection? They can do as they please including breaking the law w/o any consequence.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Tom Von Deck

@California Go Home: You're just going to have to suck it up and accept that there are different people here than the ones you grew up with. Democracy is not based on the past population. It's based on the present. Even if you prefer the term "representative republic", representatives must answer to the current population not the past one. Otherwise, it's dictatorship.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: What a Joke

So, this (person) will uphold gun regulations he likes, but not gun regulations he doesn't like.

Sure, that makes sense. Glad this guy gets to hide behind the constitution to exact his own brand of enforcement.

For the record I'm a staunch advocate of gun rights. People like Mascher do the gun advocacy no good with moronic stunts like thisl

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Stone Barrington

Out of 132 comments to date, it appears that only ONE commenter actually had the intelligence to see the big picture and deeper meaning of Mascher�s actions. (Read post by �This concept SHOULD frighten everyone�)

In the big scheme of things, this is about much more than gun control. This is about a politician with incredible power who decides HE can make up the rules as he goes along. (Sound familiar?)

Like many commenters here, I fear the enactment of gun control measures, but what I fear far greater are politicians who believe they are above the law and can make their own rules�especially those politicians with a gun and the power of arrest and a small army of troops to do their bidding. Mascher �s attitude is why people fear their government.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: More Public Grandstanding

Sounds too much like Babeu and Arpaio.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: John Sakowich

The Sheriff Article was right on. As for Mr. Hess and Mr. Mayer, they are way off base. When the second ammendment was made it had nothing to do with the gun. It had to do with the people being able to defend themselves against our government if need be. It has nothing to do with the gun. it is a piece of steel. For some reason people today don't have to take responsiblity for anything they do. When this changed I don't know but this is where we are as a society. If politatians wan to do something make the criminals go to jail for life for killing someone or bring back public hangings. This may deter some people from killing someone.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: An Observer

@ WE The People,
You say,
"Many Sheriffs across the USA are now stepping up to the plate and declaring that they will uphold their oath to the Constitution of the United States and not support the tyranny of the federal govt."
You call it "Tyranny"?

Your beloved past Presidents Reagan, H. W. Bush, and Clinton ALL PASSED EXECUTIVE ORDERS BANNING ASSAULT RIFLES.
Why did you not call them "Tyrants"?
Where the hell do you get off on this?
Please stop listening to Michael Savage, Rush and the other Idiots on the Right.

President Obama is NOT giving Executive Orders to Ban Anything. He is going though the Democratic Process of Passing a Bill through Congress to protect us. That is what He and Congress are supposed to do.

The problem is that 1st responders will be MOWED DOWN by ANGRY GUN NUTS while Sheriff Mascher, Arpio and other Sheriffs are SAFELY SITTING BEHIND THEIR DESKS.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Roger Dane

America has cheapened life. America has cheapened education and moral principles. Not all feel that way and morality is not dead in the U.S. but it is often ridiculed as inadequate. However go back 40 years and note the absence of such wide spread violence.

Cities were safer. People would walk at night and not feel so afraid. Criminals were punished and the idea of 'rehabilitating' them took a back seat to protecting society from those criminals.

Schools taught ideals based not on "man's" shifting mores but on something known as the Judeo-Christian faith. Seemed to annoy a small majority, they got a voice and suddenly all these kids need 'self-esteem' education (read boasting their ego, with no concern for the realities of life).

So we have a grand number of kids 'not graduating' and those that do think they can do "no wrong" and even feel that they are superior. That is a recipe for psychopathic behavior and we are reaping what we sowed. No new laws will make it right, we need to return to strict 'right and wrong' and 'do unto' and all that entails. We won't, because a small number are offended. Tail wagging the dog.

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: trippetta able

The problem isn't lawful gun owners, it's those who were never taught respect for life. I grew up in a family of hunters & learned to fire a gun at a very young age. I was taught to never point even a toy gun at a person, I remember several times as a child having toy guns taken from me for this reason. I just wish more people were educated as I was & taught the value of firearms & human life as well. And where as I have the right to carry a gun, I do not have one, my father believed (and still does) that if you can not take a gun apart and put it back together on your own you have no business owning one. Unfortunately there are too many registered gun owners who have no business being one!

Posted: Friday, January 25, 2013
Article comment by: Sedona Soldiers

Good job Sheriff! Happy to have you in office!

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Article comment by: Steve Frey

Sheriff Mascher, Thank you for doing the right thing. Any American who has taken the oath (myself included) would know that upholding it is a given. Anyone who wants to strip us of our right to keep and bear arms is a traitor to this country. That's why they're terrified of us citizens being armed. This wouldn't end with just "assault rifles" and high capacity mags. If they get their way now, they'll go after all guns.

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