echo ''."\n";
4
| Crime |

Arizona Lawmakers Introduce Firearms Bills to Further Loosen Restrictions

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

 

What kinds of firearms-related bills will Arizona lawmakers be working on in the aftermath of Saturday's mass shooting of 20 people?

Well, it's still early in the new legislative session. But so far, Republicans are continuing their mission to loosen firearms restrictions, not tighten them.

Here's a look at four of the laws proposed this week:

* HB 2001 — Introduced by Representative Jack Harper, a Republican from Surprise, and several other GOP lawmakers, the bill aims to make it legal for faculty members of a community college to carry concealed weapons on campus.

* HB 2014 — This one, introduced by Harper, would apparently make HB 2001 redundant. It allows nearly anyone to carry a concealed weapon onto the campus of a university, college or community college in Arizona.

* HB 2006 — This one also from Harper, who on Monday blasted Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik for failing to provide security for Giffords. The bill proposes the repeal of ARS 17-305, an anti-poaching law that prohibits carrying firearms and/or "devices for taking game" in a game refuge.

* HB 2017 — Introduced by Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills. The bill does nothing but make a grammatical change in a law Kavanagh sponsored (and saw passed) last year. The law prohibits property owners from banning guns from locked vehicles in parking lots, even if an owner has a sign posted that bans generally bans guns from the property.

Kavanagh, reached this morning, says he's certainly aware of the criticism heaped on the state in the days following Giffords' shooting. But politicizing the issue by attacking Arizona's gun laws don't make sense to him.

"I haven't seen anything our gun laws have done that have contributed to any gun violence," he says.

It's "too early to tell" what kind of laws, if any, may be needed in reaction to the mass shooting, Kavanagh says. More needs to be learned about the background of 22-year-old shooter, Jared Loughner, and what could have motivated him.

Possible angles that lawmakers or Congress could address are the confidentiality laws that prohibit doctors or educators from sharing information about concerns they may have with someone's mental health. In Loughner's case, he points out, it's already been reported that a community college teacher was worried about the young man's mental state.

It's also fair to discuss whether Army recruiters, who rejected Loughner, should share such concerns. But proposals to restrict the rights of people based on the non-professional judgments of teachers or recruiters may "get civil libertarians' hackles up," Kavanagh says. "You're walking down a minefield, in terms of personal privacy."

In any case, he wouldn't be working on such a bill because it's not his area of expertise, he adds.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Phoenix, has introduced what appears to be the one piece of gun control legislation so far this session. She wants to make it state crime to be a "straw buyer" of firearms for prohibited possessors, particularly members of foreign drug cartels.

Nationally, at least three members of Congress have called for gun control laws in reaction to Saturday's shooting.

 

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.