Local Coverage: Arizona committee advances bill allowing guns on school property

From Mark Phillips, ABC 15:

A bill allowing loaded guns to come on school campuses is making its way through the Arizona Legislature. On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 4-3, sent the measure to the Senate for final passage.

House Bill 2693 changes the wording of existing law to allow for loaded guns on school grounds, provided they remain locked in a vehicle and out of view. Under the current law, gun owners must unload their weapon before driving onto school property.

From Howard FIsher, Capitol Media Services:

Judith Simons, a retired teacher, had a different take.

“One of the reasons I retired when I did was increasing fear of gun violence at school,” she said.

Simons also said that the legislation, as worded, does not limit the ability to bring a loaded gun onto campus to situations where a parent is simply dropping off a child. She said it covers things like conferences, disciplinary hearings and after-school events.

HB 2693 now goes to the full Senate, where a final vote could send the legislation to Gov. Doug Ducey. LEAP Forward is scoring opposition to this bill.


Arizona: Key NRA-backed legislation getting a hearing on Thursday

One of the NRA’s chief priorities in Arizona this session is HB 2693. What they’re calling the “Pick Up/Drop Off” bill is really nothing more than legislation that would allow guns to be left in cars on school grounds, where they would make a popular target for thieves. A report from Everytown for Gun Safety found that in Phoenix alone, nearly 5,000 guns were stolen from cars from 2005-2014, and HB 2693 would mean more gun in more cars, and in close proximity to schools.

This legislation has already passed the state House on a strictly party-line vote and is currently scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 14. Republicans have a 4-3 majority in that committee.


Arizona: Trio of gun regulatory bills pick up steam in the Senate, but face committee roadblocks

Three graded pieces of gun legislation introduced in the Arizona Senate have picked up significant support prior to their committee hearings.

SB 1381, SB 1490, and SB 1507 have now each picked up at least eleven Democratic cosponsors in the 30-member body, and nine Democrats - Lela Alston, David Bradley, Lupe Contreras, Andrea Dalessandro, Sally Ann Gonzales, Juan Jose Mendez, Otoniel Navarrete, Martin Quezada, and LEAPer Victoria Steele - have signed on to all three.

SB 1381 is an extreme risk protection order bill, SB 1490 would add trigger cranks, bump stocks, and other accessories used to increase a weapon’s rate of fire to a list of prohibited weapons in the state, and SB 1507 expands background checks.

All three have been assigned to the Senate Rules Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee and are awaiting a scheduled hearing date. SB 1507 has additionally been sent to the Transportation and Public Safety Committee.

Republican control of the Arizona Senate means the GOP has a 5-3 advantage on the Transportation and Public Safety Committee and 4-3 advantages on Rules and Judiciary. The Judiciary committee has taken one scored vote this session - passing through SB 1292 on a party-line vote.


Arizona bill would allow more guns in cars despite theft concerns

"The bottom line is this: the presence of a gun increases the risk posed to children," said Suzanne McCormick-Fulton, a volunteer with Moms Demand. "The solution to keeping our kids safe isn't more loaded guns on school grounds, where kids go to learn and grow."

Gun-safety advocates warn that guns stored in vehicles are often the most popular targets for thieves.

According to a 2016 report from Everytown For Gun Safety, Phoenix police received reports of 4,664 guns stolen from vehicles between 2005 and 2014. Nationwide, a fifth of stolen guns are taken from vehicles.

Arizona HB 2693 would allow the storage of loaded guns in cars on school property. It passed through House committee on a party-line vote. LEAP Forward is continuing to grade action on this bill and is scoring opposition.


Arizona: Two gun deregulation bills move through committee

Arizona legislative committees advanced two bills that would reduce the penalties for misconduct involving weapons while also eliminating some of the actions that would be criminal under that same law.

In the House, HB 2693 has now passed out of both the House Public Safety and House Rules Committees, both on party-line votes. This legislation would exempt keeping a loaded gun in a car on school grounds from being a violation of the “misconduct involving weapons” section of the Arizona Revised Statutes. Meanwhile, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1292, a bill that would reduce the punishment for violations of the same statute.

These bills will next be taken up by the full House and the full Senate, where Republicans still maintain narrow control. LEAP Forward will continue to grade both bills and score opposition.


Arizona Moms Demand Action Chapter pushing for domestic violence legislation

Missy Paschke-Wood, a volunteer with the group, said the bill would allow Arizonan officials to enforce federal laws that block people convicted of these crimes from owning a firearm.

"The bill really is important because it aligns Arizona state law and the federal law, and will prevent people who are convicted of the crimes of domestic violence from possessing a firearm, even after they've completed their probation, which really closes this very dangerous gap in state law," said Paschke-Wood.

Current Arizona law prohibits people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning a gun only while they're on probation. SB 1219 would indefinitely block these offenders from owning a firearm and require them to turn in any guns they currently own.

Arizona SB 1219 is cosponsored by LEAPer Jennifer Longdon, and LEAP Forward is tracking the bill and scoring support.


Bill reducing penalty for 'misconduct involving a weapon' gets hearing in AZ Senate

Section 13-3102 of the Arizona Revised Statutes involve the criminal offense of “misconduct involving weapons.” This section includes offenses like:

  • Carrying guns on public transportation

  • Carrying a gun if the person is prohibited by law from doing so

  • Altering a gun to make it untraceable

  • Using a gun during the commission of a felony

  • Carrying a gun into a polling place, or a school, or a nuclear power plant

  • Giving your gun to someone that you know is going to use it to commit a crime

The law currently prescribes different levels of offense of these different types of “misconduct.” Using a weapon in the commission of a terrorist act, for example, is a Class 2 felony; weapons trafficking or firing a gun into an unoccupied structure are Class 3 felonies, etc.

Current law also states that the specific infraction of “entering any public establishment or attending any public event and carrying a deadly weapon on his person after a reasonable request by the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event or the sponsor's agent to remove his weapon” is a Class 1 misdemeanor - the most serious misdemeanor classification in the state and a crime punishable by up to six months in prison, three years probation, and a $2,500 fine.

SB 1292, filed by Republican David Gowan, seeks to reduce the penalty for this crime. Under this bill, bringing a weapon into a public building and ignoring the operator of that establishment’s request not to carry there would be a petty offense. In Arizona, petty offenses carry no jail time and come with a maximum fine of $300.

SB 1292 will be heard today, February 14, in the Senate Judiciary Committee. LEAP Forward will continue to track and grade this legislation, and is scoring opposition.