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Here’s What to Know as the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee Hears Dangerous Bill Encouraging Vigilante Gun Violence


PHOENIX — Today, lawmakers in the Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee are hearing HB 2843. The measure, which has driven opposition from law enforcement officials across the state, has already passed the House, and is under consideration in the Senate committee. 

“The gun lobby and extremist lawmakers have shown their true colors, pushing for a racist, dangerous bill that would encourage racially-motivated armed vigilantism, said RJ Shannon, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action. “Our state was built by immigrants seeking the promise of a better life. Whether you’ve been here for five minutes or five generations, every single person deserves the right of safety in our state, this bill would put a target on their backs. There’s only one option here — lawmakers must reject this extreme and deadly legislation.”

Here’s What to Know About This Dangerous Legislation: 

  • The author of HB 2843, Representative Justin Heap from Mesa, has openly stated that his goal is to close a loophole which he thinks leads to “larger numbers of migrants or human traffickers moving across farm and ranch land.” This dehumanizing rhetoric invites and provokes violence which could then be excused under HB 2843.
  • It would encourage property owners to confront individuals traversing their land, no matter how expansive or whether it is marked as private property, and threaten or use lethal force against them.
  • HB 2843 encourages the use of deadly force in self-defense when it should always be a last resort. The bill could drive an increase in armed vigilantism and promote escalating conflicts to deadly violence that could be resolved in safer ways. 

In 2010, Arizona kicked off a national trend by repealing its concealed carry permit requirement and passing a “stand your ground” law, allowing individuals to use deadly force, even when they can safely walk away from perceived danger. HB 2843 would be an alarming expansion of the current Shoot First laws in the state.

This session, lawmakers have already pushed various measures backed by the gun lobby – including SB 1198 and SB 1189, which would force Arizona universities, colleges and community colleges to let anyone with a concealed carry permit carry a concealed gun on campus – including in classrooms, dorms, and at sporting events, and revoking the power of  local governments from prohibiting gun shows from occurring in their cities or counties. . 

In an average year, 1,228 people die by guns in Arizona. Gun violence costs Arizona $15.9 billion each year, of which $253.2 million is paid by taxpayers. If Arizona had the gun death rate of our National Leaders—the eight states with the strongest gun safety laws—we could save 11,161 lives in the next decade. More information about gun violence in Arizona is available here
To speak with a policy expert or Moms Demand Action or Students Demand Action volunteer, please contact [email protected].