Gun Safety Advocates Spend Day at Capitol Urging Elected Leaders to Reject Gun Lobby-Backed Package of Legislation
PHOENIX – The Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and members of the Everytown Survivor Network, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, came together today for a rally and advocacy day at the Arizona State Capitol. The coalition of gun safety advocates spoke out against four bills making their way through the legislature – Senate Bills 1266 and 1257 and House Bills 2300 and 2524. If passed and signed into law, these bills would strip the ability of local and state leaders – including mayors, law enforcement and state legislators – to help reduce gun violence. Following the rally, gun safety advocates are meeting with elected leaders to discuss why they oppose all four dangerous gun bills and urge elected leaders to reject each bill.
“Too many people have been shot or had a loved one killed or injured as a result of gun violence. As a gun violence survivor and a responsible gun owner, I know there are steps we can take to prevent these acts of gun violence,” said Mary Reed, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network who was shot and injured shielding her daughter during the January 2011 Tucson mass shooting. “Lives are on the line, and it’s time our elected leaders stand up to protect us – not bow down to gun-lobby backed legislation.”
“In the five years since my son Gabe was shot and killed during the Tucson mass shooting at Rep. Gabby Giffords’ ‘Congress on Your Corner’ event, the legislature has continued to propose bills that aim to weaken Arizona’s public safety laws,” said Emily Nottingham, a member of the Everytown Survivor Network whose son, Gabe Zimmerman, was shot and killed during the January 2011 Tucson mass shooting while serving as Rep. Gabby Giffords’ director of community outreach. “Gabe dedicated his life to public service because he believed it was our government’s responsibility to serve Arizonans – including working to keep us safe. Our elected leaders should fulfill this responsibility by blocking dangerous laws that would put us at risk and passing safer laws that would protect us.”
“Every day, 91 Americans are killed and hundreds of others are injured as a result of our country’s gun violence problem. In Arizona, we’ve experienced too many shootings in our own communities. It’s time our elected leaders stand up for public safety and focus on policies that would help save lives – not measures that would put us in danger,” said Geneva Haber, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Moms and gun violence survivors from across Arizona are here today to meet with our elected leaders about why this package of gun bills is the wrong decision for Arizona. We will not stop knocking on doors, making phone calls or telling our stories until the legislature resolves to reduce gun violence and save Arizonans’ lives.”
MORE INFORMATION ON ALL FOUR BILLS BEING DEBATED IN THE STATE LEGISLATURE CAN BE FOUND HERE AND BELOW:
- Senate Bill 1266 is legislation that would allow the NRA and out-of-state special interest groups to sue local officials who attempt to enforce local gun laws. The bill provides for a penalty of up to $50,000 to be levied against a locality that tries to enact or enforce public safety laws tailored to local conditions; allows for successful lawsuits to net special interest groups another $100,000 in damages, plus the cost of lawyers for both the locality and the gun lobby; would force taxpayers to foot the entire bill and allows for a local official to be fired from his or her job for taking steps to protect public safety.
- Senate Bill 1257 is legislation that would deny local governments their basic authority to keep Arizona’s children safe by forcing public facilities like libraries, recreation centers, fairs and other government buildings to allow guns—that is, unless these local governments can afford to spend their limited public funds to outfit public spaces with expensive security equipment and personnel. This bill comes with a heavy fiscal note – the Arizona Department of Administration has previously projected that the cost of this policy to the state would be up to $16.9 million in the first year of enactment, and up to $15.7 million in subsequent years. Maricopa County has projected $9 million in one-time costs along with $47 million each year in ongoing costs.
- House Bill 2524 is legislation that would hand over Arizona’s state sovereignty to other states. HB 2524 would create an interstate compact that would block all states that sign on from passing any laws related to the sale or transfer of firearms beyond existing federal law. Arizona’s elected officials would be unable to write public safety laws without the consent of other states – and would not be able to leave the compact without out-of-state permission or calling a special session of the legislature.
- House Bill 2300 is legislation that would undermine federal law by making it illegal for law enforcement to enforce any allegedly “unconstitutional” federal laws or to assist federal agents in enforcing these laws in any way. By putting the burden on law enforcement to determine what federal laws are legal to enforce, these bills could make police and sheriffs afraid to enforce bedrock public safety laws, including laws that keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers.