Top 10 Arizona Gun Stories of 2013
There are just four states where guns are so popular that they have an official state gun -- and you bet Arizona's one of them.
From gun laws, crimes, statistics, accidents, and trends, there's been a lot of gun-related news around Arizona this year. We bring you our top 10 gun stories for 2013:
Richard Venola, 54, was arrested by Mohave County Sheriff's deputies last year, after the former Guns & Ammo editor allegedly used a gun and ammo to shoot 39-year-old James Patrick O'Neill outside Venola's home in Golden Valley. After two deadlocked juries this year, charges against Venola were dropped.
See also: Former Guns & Ammo Magazine Editor's Murder Trial Ends With Hung Jury
Guns turned over during "buyback" events in Arizona may not be destroyed, according to a bill signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer. Legislators took a sudden interest in the idea as gun buyback events became more popular. The legislation has effectively killed gun buybacks in the state.
See also: Jan Brewer Signs Bill to Protect Guns
Before the aforementioned law went into effect, there was a rush of people who wanted to turn in their guns for destruction. Even though some private parties offered to buy the guns from people, many people looking to turn in their guns did so even without getting anything in return.
See also: Phoenix Gun-Buyback Funds Run Dry, but People Still Turn in 72 More Guns
There have been at least 13 people "accidentally" shot and killed in Arizona this year, although it's been more than a month since the last death.
See also: 13 Arizonans Killed in "Accidental" Shootings So Far This Year
A Glendale man who apparently threatened people with an assault rifle at a party last month was shot and killed by an armed partygoer. We checked back in on the case after discovering that gun enthusiasts have hailed the shooter, whom police have identified as 39-year-old James Rakes, as a hero who stopped a "mass shooting."
See also: Mass Shooting in Glendale Stopped by Armed Citizen, According to Gun Enthusiasts
For some reason, while the buyback events still were active, someone turned in a Colt AR-15 rifle, in exchange for a $200 gift card. This gun easily could have netted the owner a thousand bucks, but they turned it in for destruction.
See also: AR-15 Assault Rifle Among Guns Turned in at Phoenix Police Buyback Event
Mike Ray/Shannon Associates
After the Trayvon Martin killing and the subsequent trial for George Zimmerman, there's been special attention nationwide on self-defense killings and the related laws. Here, Ray Stern explored Arizona's shooter-friendly law on alleged self-defense from a car, in a recent New Times cover story.
See also: Shooting People from a Car in Alleged Self-Defense Is No Crime in Arizona
While some national debate began over whether someone should be armed in schools, Attorney General Tom Horne came out and said it was "inexcusable for teachers, students and school staff" not to be armed. He pushed for a bill to that end, but that legislation didn't make it.
See also: Tom Horne: Not Having Guns in Schools Is "Inexcusable"
Although target shooting is a very popular activity around the state, it turns out that outdoor target shooting in the desert is a major cause of forest fires, as explained by Ray Stern in an August New Times cover story.
See also: Target Shooting a Major Cause of Arizona Forest Fires
In this New Times cover story, Ray Stern looked at how some attitudes on guns go past casual gun enthusiasm.
See also: 'Til Death Do Us Part: Arizona's Dangerous Love Affair with Guns
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