Trump-backed governor candidate says she won’t recognise federal gun laws if elected and dares DOJ to stop her

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Kari Lake.  (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
Kari Lake. (Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Donald Trump’s preferred candidate for governor of Arizona has vowed not “recognize” federal gun laws if elected in November and dared the federal government to stop her.

“What are the Feds going to do?” Ms Lake asked in a tweet. “Fly down here and arrest a sitting Governor? Call my bluff.”

Ms Lake’s broadside against federal gun laws came in the wake of the US Senate’s vote to advance its first significant piece of gun reform legislation in years — a bipartisan package negociated in the aftermath of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas that left 22 people dead and 18 more injured.

The legislation, which was advanced by a 64-34 vote on Wednesday, does not ban any guns outright but does significantly enchance background checks for firearm buyers under the age of 21, allocate money to states for the implementation of so-called red flag laws, and close the “Boyfriend Loophole” by including all serious partners in a law that bars domestic abusers from purchasing firearms.

The bill is not, by any stretch, the overhaul to the country’s gun laws that many Democrats have long advocated for — a reality made clear by the fact that 14 Republicans, including Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, voted to advance it this week.

Mr McConnell’s top lieutenant, Sentor John Cornyn of Texas, is a chief architect of the legislation alongside Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

But while a number of Republicans opted to support the advancement of the bill, the group of in the caucus thought to be considering 2024 presidential campaigns uniformly opposed it. Sens. Josh Hawley, Tim Scott, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio, for instance, all voted against the bill — perhaps anticipating a reaction to it from a segement of Republican voters similar to Ms Lake’s reaction in Arizona.

Ms Lake is running in the Republican primary to replace outgoing two-term governor Doug Ducey, who declined to run for the US Senate despite a recruiting push from top Republicans last year. Ms Lake has led in every public poll of the race taken this far, with Arizona Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson and former Rep. Matt Salmon trailing her.

If the far right Ms Lake is nominated, a general election against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs could be highly competitive. Though it is likely to be an unfavorable midterm environment for the president’s party, the Democrats have had a bevy of recent success in Arizona — winning two Senate races and a presidential race in the last two election cycles.

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