An Arizona state legislative committee has approved a resolution
calling for the dissolution of the federal government in the event that
it abolishes the U.S. Constitution, declares martial law or confiscates
firearms — scenarios some say are not unrealistic. Critics of the
resolution, however, call the measure a “total waste of time.”
Karen Johnson, Arizona state representative
Rep. Karen Johnson, a Mesa Republican and
chair of the House Committee on Federal Mandates and States’
authored the resolution which the committee approved 3-2. Only the
committee’s vice-chair, Republican Rep. Gail Griffin,
abstained from voting.
Specifically, House Concurrent Resolution 2034
outlines the origin of the United States, emphasizing the sovereignty of
the states and their constitutional right to “establish a new federal
government for themselves by following the precedent established by
Article VII, Constitution of the United States, in which nine of the existing
thirteen states dissolved the existing Union under the Articles of
Confederation and automatically superseded the Articles.”
It also articulates constitutional violations committed by the
federal government as justification for the measure, saying “… the
fifty current principals, or signatories, to the [Constitution] have
done well in honoring and obeying it, yet the federal agent has, for
decades, violated it in both word and spirit. The many violations of the
Constitution of the United States by the federal government include
disposing of federal property without the approval of Congress, usurping
jurisdiction from the states in such matters as abortion and firearms
rights and seeking control of public lands within state borders,” says
By adopting HRC 2034, Arizona states its intention to dissolve the
current federal government with the approval of 34 other states and, in
essence, start over. Participating states would re-ratify and
re-establish the present Constitution “as the charter for the formation
of a new federal government, to be followed by the election of a new
Congress and President and the reorganization of a new judiciary,” in
keeping with the original intent of the “founding fathers.” Individual
members of the military will return to their respective states and
report to the governor until a new president is elected.
In addition, each state will assume a prorated portion of the
national debt and will own all land within its borders. After the new
government is formed, the remaining 15 states will be permitted to join
the revised union upon application, as was the case with the original
A three-year veteran to the Arizona Legislature, Johnson told the
Sierra Times the resolution is “insurance policy.”
“If the federal government declares martial law or attempts to
confiscate guns, the states shouldn’t have to put up with that,” she
Joseph Stumph, well-known author and historian, testified in favor of
the resolution at the hearing.
“We’re proposing that if things get as bad as they could get, that
these states won’t allow the federal government to put us into a
one-world government,” said Stumph, who is publishing a similar proposal
in his home state of Utah. “I don’t expect we’ll get 35 states to sign
on. The American people are not educated enough on this yet,” he added.
The resolution was introduced Jan. 26, and now needs to be approved
by the Arizona House. Should HRC 2034 successfully complete the
legislative process, it will appear on the November ballot for voter
approval. But one legislator does not think the measure will be taken
Rep. Bill Brotherton, a Democrat member of
Johnson’s committee, called efforts to promote the bill a “total waste
“Obviously … one of the more important issues we have is mental
health in this state,” Brotherton said mockingly. “I wonder if we are
going to have a bill on the grassy knoll next to decide who shot
Johnson said she was asked by several Maricopa County residents to
look into preventing the federal government from asserting power not
authorized by the federal and state Constitutions. To Johnson, the
resolution is a watered down, limited version of the “Ultimatum
Resolution,” written and promoted by Stump.
Johnson said HRC 2034 was introduced in response to recent actions by
the Clinton administration regarding the Grand Canyon. On a recent trip
to the landmark, President Clinton declared three new national
monuments, threatening the property and livelihood of ranchers in the
Fears of martial law and firearm confiscation are mere “conspiracy
theories” to some, but in light of the elaborate preparations government
made for potential Y2K problems — including a ready-to-sign executive
order giving Clinton the equivalent of dictatorial powers — “these
fears have become real possibilities,” according to Johnson.
Johnson also made it clear that the action of possible secession
should only take place if the federal government suspends or violates
the Constitution without approval from the state.
“There may be times when the nation may be at war, and such steps may
need to be taken. But the states should have a backup plan if
necessary,” she said.
Arizona is not alone in its fears. Johnson noted other legislators
in other states are considering taking similar steps.
Despite her current success with HRC 2034, Johnson is not relying
solely on non-binding resolutions to ensure state sovereignty. She has
been joined by a coalition of six other Arizona state representatives,
private ranchers and other states’ legislators in a lawsuit filed
against the federal government.
The lawsuit is an attempt to reverse creation of the Grand
Canyon-Parashant National Monument, which covers more than 1 million
acres of land, roughly the same amount as Grand Canyon National Park.
The group says national monument status will affect use and access to
its private property, which will be surrounded by the federal property.
It also asks the court to find the 1906 Antiquities Act, used to
create the Parashant monument, unconstitutional. The coalition’s lawyer
claims the president “has taken the act to the point of actually abusing
the rights of people in the West.”
The act gives presidents emergency authority to protect threatened
federal lands or “objects of historic and scientific interest,” but
lawyer Lana Marcussen said that in using the act for a non-emergency
case, the president has gone too far.
See Henry Lamb’s column:
Repeal Antiquities Act!
Julie Foster is a staff
reporter for WorldNetDaily.