Since the Parkland High School massacre a few weeks ago, students across the country have been demanding that elected officials do their jobs and protect them against gun violence in schools and other public places.
Last week, 75 students visited the Arizona Legislature and the Governor’s Tower to ask for legislation on universal background checks, banning bump stocks, and more counselors (not more guns) in schools.
Yesterday, Governor Doug Ducey revealed his plan to tackle gun violence in Arizona. It nips around the edges of what students and others have been demanding on social media, in our Legislative email inboxes, and in the streets, but it falls short of meaningful reform. For example, Ducey’s plan does include a small amount of money for more school counselors. Currently, Arizona has a ratio of approximately 1:920 counselors to students. The national recommendation is 1:250. Ducey’s bill would add ~120 new counselors– far less than needed. As with the opioid bill, Ducey met with a small group of Republican and Democratic Legislators to compile this plan, but this time, Ducey didn’t include any of the Democrats’ ideas. (Read the mainstream media’s take on Ducey’s plan here or read the Blue Meanie’s take here.)
What else could be done in Arizona? Below the fold, you’ll find a list of Democratic bills that never got a hearing.
In the Legislature, we all have our niche based upon our education and experiences. As you all are most likely aware, my seat mate Rep. Randy Friese was one of the trauma surgeons who saved Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ life after the shooting spree at the NW Tucson Safeway in 2011. Gun violence prevention has been his issue. Friese had the guts to run on an anti-gun violence platform back in 2014– when no one was talking about this. (I remember when I shot this video of him.) Friese introduces some gun reform each year. Here are the bills he introduced in 2018.
HB2023, prohibited weapons; bump-fire device; accessory.
HB2024, firearm sales; transfers; background checks.
HB2140, mental health; injunction; firearm possession.
HB2299, domestic violence offenders; firearms; seizure.
HCR2001, firearm sales; transfers; background checks. (Also proposed in the Arizona Senate as SCR1015 by Senator Steve Farley.)
Gun violence prevention is not about the 2nd Amendment. It’s not about weaponry. It’s not about schools.
It’s about saving lives.
Innocent people are shot one by one every day in the United States. Enough is enough. We must create policies that balance social responsibility and public health with individual liberty.
This weekend in Tucson– and across the country– people will be participating in the March for Our Lives. If you think politicians should go bold against gun violence on our streets, in our homes, in our churches, and in our schools, show up on Saturday and bring your friends. We must break the stranglehold the NRA has on our country.