AZ Senate Republicans block gun background check vote attempt | Government and politics

PHOENIX — Senate Republicans on Tuesday rescinded a bid to force a vote on legislation banning people from buying guns unless they have a background check first.

The party line vote came on a bid by Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, to get a roll-call vote on his SB 1546. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, but Sen. Warren Petersen, R -Gilbert, who chairs this panel, never even agreed to grant him an audience.

Quezada therefore used a procedural motion to waive the requirement for a committee hearing and demand that the measure be immediately voted on by the full Senate.

The only thing is that he first had to survive a vote to override the rules. And none of the Republicans who control the Senate agreed to support this decision, closing any possibility of debate.

Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on potential buyers before finalizing a purchase. But none of this covers person-to-person sales.

Specifically, this exception applies to sales made at gun shows, where individuals can bring in their gun collection to sell to those in attendance. Quezada called this an unacceptable “loophole” given the number of mass shootings.

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A series of surveys have shown strong support for universal background checks. Most recently, this included a Morning Consult and Politico poll, conducted a day after the murder of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, which found 81% said they wanted to submit private gun sales. and sales at gun shows at background checks. .

Petersen, explaining his opposition to the introduction of the bill, said the restriction would prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

“Criminals do not respect the laws,” he said. “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, called it “total nonsense.”

“There was a whole parking lot of police who didn’t even approach the building because of the type of gun this guy had,” Rios said. She said there were dozens of “good guys” with guns outside the school in Texas and that didn’t stop the murder.

“Bring something that will work,” said Sen. Vince Leach, R-Tucson, in opposition to what Quezada wanted. He cited the number of shootings in Chicago that have some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

But Quezada said Republicans seemed willing to blame anything — and everything — other than gun access, calling them “regurgitated gun lobby talking points.”

“I was particularly troubled by a specific diversionary tactic that we saw members clinging to for life last week,” he said. “It was that last mass shooting, and mass shootings in general, happen because God has been taken out of our schools or because we don’t pray enough in schools, and because our nation has become too removed from its Christian foundation. ‘

This refers to comments by Senate Majority Leader Rick Gray, R-Sun City, who said mass shootings were happening because children couldn’t pray in school.

Rios said haters of additional gun regulations always seem to have a litany of reasons why there are mass shootings, like video games and mental illness.

“The fact is, every other country in the world has people with mental illness,” Rios said.

“Every other country in the world has video games. Every other country in the world has a religion or they don’t,” she continued. “It’s all red herrings.”

But Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, said what’s lost in all of this is that the Texas shooter purchased his firearms from licensed gun dealers. He called the argument to require universal background checks a “myth and a smokescreen.”

While GOP lawmakers declined to consider new gun restrictions, they voted for measures to protect gun rights, such as allowing people to drive on school campuses without having to unload first a gun.

Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has reported since 1970 and has covered state politics and the Legislature since 1982. Follow him on Twitter at “@azcapmedia” or by email [email protected]

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