On Thursday, more than 150 volunteers with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, made their way to the statehouse to urge lawmakers to support legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Volunteers from as far as Pima County, Coconino County, and across the state drove hours to meet with lawmakers and encourage them to instead focus on common-sense solutions to keep Arizonans safe, starting with legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.
Throughout the day, volunteers held more than 33 meetings with lawmakers to encourage them to give SB1165 and HB2543 a hearing. Afterward, volunteers joined Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, and gun safety advocates including Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, Rep. Daniel Hernandez, Rep. Jennifer Longdon, survivors, and representatives from NOW and Arizona Public Health Association for a press rally in the Rose Garden.
KSAZ – Phoenix reported:
“‘If you are convicted of domestic violence and a judge has deemed you an unsafe possessor of guns not only should you not be able to buy guns but you should have to relinquish the ones that you do have,’ [said Jessica Manos, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action].”
“‘What happened to me did make me an advocate for gun violence prevention. The subtle threat of just holding the gun, or leaving it on the dresser or cleaning it anytime I would speak up or speak back to him. It was a significant threat,’ [said Tracy Theisen, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action].”
Copper Courier reported:
“Jessica Manos, a mother of four, remembers taking her six-week-old son out of their house in Newtown, Connecticut, for the first time on Dec. 14, 2012. That was the same day 20 children and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting in their town.
‘I just stood there with this newborn baby, [thinking] ‘What kind of world did I bring my child into?’ Manos told The Copper Courier. ‘And I knew that I had to do something to stop the epidemic.’”
Last week, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund launched a $250,000 digital ad campaign calling on state lawmakers to pass common-sense gun laws, and unveiled new polling which found that Arizonans overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws by an 8:1 margin – including a bill to disarm domestic abusers.
Arizona state gun laws are among the weakest in the country, with no legal requirement for background checks on unlicensed gun sales, and not enough has been done to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Between 2012 and 2016, the rate of intimate partner gun homicide in Arizona was 66 percent higher than the national average.
Here are some photos from the Arizona Chapter’s Advocacy day:
More information about legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers is available here. Statistics about gun violence in Arizona are available here, and information on how Arizona’s gun laws compare to other states overall is available here.
If you have any questions, or would like to speak with volunteers with Arizona Moms Demand Action or survivors of gun violence, please don’t hesitate to reach out.