STATEMENT: Americans for Responsible Solutions On 2017 Arizona Legislative Session

May 10, 2017 —  As the 2017 Arizona legislative session ends, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and members of the Arizona Coalition for Common Sense, issued the below statements today.

Americans for Responsible Solutions applauded the Arizona Legislature for not advancing several dangerous gun bills this session, including HB 2118, which proposed the formation of an illegal compact between states that would prohibit Arizona from enacting commonsense firearms laws without the consent of all the other member states. In addition, during the legislative session, the Arizona legislature did not advance two other gun bills: HB 2287, an irresponsible bill that would have weakened Shannon’s Law by making it more difficult for law enforcement to enforce the law, and SB 1159, which would have effectively held business owners and individuals who chose to prohibit guns on their premises liable for damages caused by a shooting.

Despite defeating several dangerous gun bills, there is still so much more that must be done to protect Arizonans. Arizona did pass a dangerous bill, SB 1122, that would make it harder for the state to pass future background checks legislation.

Nico Bocour, State Legislative Manager, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“This legislative session, Americans for Responsible Solutions worked with legislators, coalition partners, and advocates to defeat a handful of dangerous gun bills that would have put Arizonans at risk. We would like to thank the legislature for rejecting these irresponsible bills that would have made Arizona less safe.

“Despite these major victories for public safety, there is still so much more that must be done to protect Arizonans and make our communities safer. Arizonans should be outraged that their state legislature passed a dangerous new bill that will make it harder to pass future background checks legislation. Make no mistake, by passing this bill Arizona’s lawmakers put the interests of the gun lobby ahead of Arizonans safety.

“Americans for Responsible Solutions looks forward to working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass commonsense solutions in future legislative sessions.”

Neil Guiliano, former mayor of Tempe, Advisory Member of the Arizona Coalition for Common Sense:

“I am glad that the Arizona legislature acted responsibly by stopping HB 2118. This bill would have seriously infringed upon our State’s rights to keep our communities safe. Arizona has a lot of work to do, but we are in a much better place because the legislature stopped this bill.”

Gerry Hills, Founder Arizonans for Gun Safety, Advisory Member of the Arizona Coalition for Common Sense:

“Shannon’s Law has been keeping Arizonans safer for almost 20 years, and I am glad that will continue to be so. We cannot afford to weaken the laws that are already working to make our communities safer. The Arizona legislature succeeded in protecting our laws this session, and I hope we can move towards passing strong gun laws.”

Jim Mapstead, President & CEO of Accurate Signs & Engraving, Advisory Member of the Arizona Coalition for Common Sense:

“The Arizona legislature shut down SB 1159, a dangerous bill that would have encroached on the rights of small businesses and put our patrons in greater danger. Business leaders and owners have the right to prohibit guns in their storefronts, and they should be able to make this safety decision without the pressure of being penalized.”

About the Legislation:

HB 2118, the Firearms Compact Bill, proposed the formation of a compact between states that would prohibit individual states from enacting commonsense firearms laws, making it disastrous for Arizona:

  • Member states would be violating the U.S. Constitution merely by joining the compact.
  • An individual living in a member state could sue another member state for violating the compact, even if the individual has never been to the state. He or she would be entitled to reimbursement by that state for all legal expenses.
  • Elected officials would be forced to violate their oaths of office by ignoring the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that full faith and credit by given to the laws of other states.
  • A state could be forced to remain a member of the illegal compact, even though it wishes to withdraw, due to HB 2118’s onerous restrictions on withdrawal.

HB 2287, a bill to weaken Shannon’s Law, would have been detrimental to Arizona public safety:

  • Shannon’s Law was passed by the Arizona legislature in 2000 when a 14-year-old girl named Shannon Smith was killed by a stray bullet that was shot into the air.
  • Shannon’s Law makes it a felony offense for someone to randomly discharge a firearm in a municipality. HB 2287 would have dangerously weakened the current statute by changing the culpable mental state from criminal negligence to knowingly or recklessly for the offense of unlawful discharge of a firearm, making it harder for prosecutors to charge offenders.

SB 1159, a dangerous civil liability bill, would have infringed on the rights of Arizona business owners:

  • This bill would have exempted a business or business owner from civil liability for damages resulting from the use of a weapon by another person in an area that is not a gun-free zone.
  • The effective result of this proposal would have been that only businesses or individuals who chose to prohibit guns on the premises could be liable for damages caused by a shooting.
  • Under this bill, people could more easily try to evade liability for actions that are clearly wrong or even criminal.

SB 1122, would make it harder to pass future background checks legislation:

  • The bill would prohibit requiring background checks as a condition of private sales of firearms; and
  • It would also make it illegal, notwithstanding any other law, to require that federal or state databases be used to facilitate any transfer of personal property.  And it would render invalid any law that requires that a third party be involved in a transfer of personal property.  These provisions could have unintended consequences far beyond firearm sales.

About the Arizona Coalition for Common Sense

The coalition’s members – which include gun owners, veterans, law enforcement officials, domestic violence prevention advocates, educators, faith leaders and business leaders – will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.

The Arizona Coalition for Common Sense will fight for solutions that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, like:

  • Closing the loopholes in our gun laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns in Arizona without a background check;
  • Protecting women and families by making sure that domestic abusers don’t have access to firearms; and
  • Ensuring lawmakers and stakeholders have the information and training they need to prevent gun violence and strengthen existing laws.