The Arizona chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action issued the following statement after the Arizona House Government and Elections Committee advanced HB 2316, dangerous legislation to allow guns in public spaces. If passed, the bill would effectively force public officials to allow guns in public buildings and at events held on public property across the state, including a number of places where guns would pose a serious risk, such as government buildings, concerts, demonstrations, and more.
“Arizona is already fighting a devastating gun violence epidemic,” said Teresa Neiberg, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And bills like this one will only serve to make our state less safe. If the Arizona legislature continues to play these costly political games, our communities will be forced to pay the price.”
Arizona has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, scoring only 8.5 out of 100 for gun law strength while maintaining a gun violence rate well above the national average. Despite this, state lawmakers continue to further weaken the state’s firearm laws. Today, the state legislature also advanced HB 2414, harmful legislation that would allow people to carry loaded guns in school parking lots. And, lawmakers are also hearing a bill that includes a dangerous expansion of Arizona’s so called “Stand Your Ground” law which is already extreme and encourages people to shoot first and ask questions later as well as allows police to use deadly force against a fleeing felon even when there is no imminent threat on Thursday.
Just last session, Arizona lawmakers ignored the pleas of volunteers, survivors, and law enforcement officers and passed reckless legislation to nullify federal gun safety laws, including the laws that prohibit people with dangerous histories from having firearms.
This year, lawmakers should protect Arizonans by rejecting dangerous legislation that would weaken the state’s gun laws and, instead, support gun safety bills that would reduce gun deaths and save lives, starting with legislation to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Recent polling shows that Arizonans support stronger gun laws — including a bill to disarm domestic abusers — by an overwhelming 8:1 margin
In an average year, 1,155 people die by guns in the state, and 1,017 more are wounded. Guns are the third-leading cause of death among children and teens in Arizona. More information about gun violence in Arizona is available here.