Arizona’s House Democrats called for action on specific bills they have sponsored that remain in limbo in the state legislature.
“House Democrats called on Republican Leaders to finally show the courage to make our communities safer,” a Thursday press release said. “In the wake of the violent massacres in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, Democrats again called for action on nearly a dozen common-sense gun violence prevention bills that have gotten a hearing this session or for the past several years.”
Earlier this week, a lone gunman entered an elementary school in Uvalde, where he shot and killed 19 students and two teachers.
“When you send children off to school or a loved one to the grocery store, you should expect them to come home. That is no longer the case in our country, and that’s not the status quo anyone should accept,” said Assistant Democrat Leader Jennifer Longdon (D-AZ-24), who was paralyzed from the waist down in a random drive-by shooting in 2004.
“If you knew that a mass shooting was about to occur at your child’s school, or the workplace of someone you love, what would you be willing to do to prevent it?” she asked. “Anything. Everything. Why are we not working together to do everything we can to address the public health crisis of gun violence?”
HB 2304 is one of the bills on which the House Democrats called for action.
That bill would ban bump stocks, a piece of equipment that can make a semi-automatic rifle fire at a higher rate of speed.
The shooter in Uvalde did not use a bump stock.
Democrats also called for action on HB 2361, a waiting period bill which would force new gun owners to wait a period of days to receive a gun after purchasing it.
HB 2364 was on the call-to-action list.
That bill would require doctors to discuss gun safety measures with parents or guardians of children when those children visited their physicians.
Other bills listed would ban those accused but not convicted of domestic violence from owning a firearm, force retailers to conduct background checks to ensure gun purchasers are not under indictment for any crime (federal background checks are currently required to purchase a firearm), require schools to have panic alarms in case of a shooting, exempt firearm storage devices from sales tax, and require those sentenced to prison for a felony to surrender concealed carry permits (felons are barred from possessing weapons under federal law).
Another bill listed is a notorious “red flag law” bill, which would allow a judge to strip a person of firearms if another person believes the firearm owner might pose a threat.
When an The Arizona Sun Times reporter asked which of the bills specifically would have prevented the shooting in Uvalde, the House Democrats said they were unsure.
“It’s very difficult to speculate, especially since as we understand it both the shooter in Uvalde and in Buffalo were not prohibited possessors, and are reported to have purchased their weapons legally,” said Robbie Sherwood, the House Democrat Causes Communications Director. “We still strongly support background checks for broader reasons, as I believe there are hundreds of gun-related incidents and multiple deaths every day.”
He pointed to the “red flag” legislation specifically as one bill that might have prevented the shooting.
The constitutionality of such laws remains disputed.
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