With all the other crazy shit going on in the world this past week, you may have missed “gun nuts week” at the Arizona Lege.
First up, Shannon’s Law, enacted in 2000 with the support of Governor Jane Dee Hull and even the NRA. Shannon’s law is named after Shannon Smith, a fourteen-year-old Phoenix girl killed by a stray bullet in June 1999:
While she stood in her backyard talking on the telephone with a friend, a stray bullet hit her in her head, causing instant death. Smith’s death sparked a furor among Arizona residents. Her funeral was attended by approximately 1,300 mourners. A monument, made with melted metal from confiscated firearms, was raised in her honor at her middle school by her classmates and friends. Tens of thousands of dollars in donations for the monument were primarily raised by Shannon’s friends and classmates holding car washes.
A violation of Shannon’s law is defined as a felony offense in Arizona. The gun worshipers and ammosexual gun fetishists at the Arizona Citizens Defense League now want to gut Shannon’s Law. Panel votes to gut Shannon’s Law on gun discharges:
Arizona gun owners would be able to escape being prosecuted under “Shannon’s Law” if they say it was just an accident that they fired their gun into the air.
On a 6-5 margin, the House Judiciary Committee voted to say that criminal negligence in discharging a weapon within a city would no longer be a felony. Instead, prosecutors would have to show that someone knowingly or recklessly shot off a few rounds.
And no one could be prosecuted at all unless that “accidental” discharge occurred within a quarter mile of an occupied structure, versus one mile under current law.
“Accidents are an unfortunate fact of life,” said Rep. Tony Rivero, R-Peoria, who is sponsoring HB 2287.
“People have hundreds of automobile accidents in the Valley area every day,” he told members of the House Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety. “Yet we rarely treat them as criminal depending on the circumstances.”
And Dave Kopp, lobbyist for the Arizona Citizens Defense League, which lobbies for the rights of gun owners, said it’s even simpler than that.
“We don’t think stupid should be a felony,” he said.
But Rep. Maria Syms, R-Paradise Valley, said the change would do more than excuse people who just happened to have their gun out and inadvertently pull the trigger, quoting from what it takes now to convict someone of criminal negligence.
“The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to perceive it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation,” Syms read from state statutes.
“Based on that definition, I would be very surprised to find anyone being prosecuted for accidentally shooting a gun,” she said, joining with Democrats on the panel to vote against the measure.
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“The vast majority of firearm discharges result in no injuries and very minimal property damage,” Rivero said. “How many miscarriages of justice are acceptable?”
Syms was not convinced.
“Is anyone really prosecuted for an accident?” she asked. “Or are they being prosecuted for what the statute says: criminal negligence, which is a higher standard?”
Neither Rivero nor Kopp cited any instances of someone being prosecuted for what was actually a purely accidental discharge of a firearm versus someone knowingly celebrating some event, like New Year’s Eve, by intentionally shooting the gun. And Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said no one from his office has been able to find a single case where someone was prosecuted for an accident.
Montgomery said he opposes the legislation and wants to retain the criminal penalties for those who are criminally negligent in shooting off guns.
Kopp, in his testimony, said true accidents should not happen.
“We like folks to be up on the rules and know that any touching of the trigger when you don’t have a defined target is a bad thing,” he told lawmakers. “But let’s face it: We’re all people, we’re all fallible and accidents happen.”
Kopp said the other change in the bill — making it a crime only if the knowing or reckless shooting occurred within a quarter-mile of an occupied structure — simply brings the statute in line with hunting laws that have similar perimeter restrictions.
Montgomery was not convinced.
“I have no info to support changing the distance to one-quarter of a mile,” he said. “A bullet fired into the air can go much further.”
The measure still needs approval by the full House.
Next up, the gun worshipers and ammosexual gun fetishists at the Arizona Citizens Defense League want to block any new technology to prevent accidental shootings of children who get their hands on a gun — Gun accidents kill at least 1 kid every other day in America — based upon a paranoid conspiracy theory that “the guvmint is comin’ to confiscate your guns!” House committee endorses bill protecting people from ‘smart guns’:
Citing a fear of Big Brother and glitchy technology, Republicans on a state House panel approved legislation that would ensure nobody is required to use “smart guns.”
Never mind that there’s no such requirement, and no American companies are currently making or even selling “smart guns.”
Note: President Obama announced new steps to curb gun violence last April including identifying the requirements that “smart guns” would have to meet
to prevent an accidental shooting or help track down a missing gun. In November of last year, the Obama administration announced baseline specifications for smart-gun technology:
The specifications were developed by the Justice Department’s National Institute of Justice.
The White House says the specifications are meant to ensure that smart-gun technology “available to law enforcement agencies is safe and reliable” and to demonstrate that a demand exists for weapons with enhanced safety features.
Officials say they hope the specifications will give manufacturers guidance about the basic requirements that law enforcement agencies expect from the technology.
As part of his January action, Obama directed the government to review the availability of smart-gun technology on a regular basis.
So let’s cut the crap Tea-Publicans, this has as much to do with your Obama Derangement Syndrome as it does with your anti-government conspiracy theories and your revolution fantasies.
Rep. Paul Boyer’s HB2216, which cleared the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on January 25 on a party-line vote, would make it a felony to “require a person to use or be subject to electronic firearm tracking technology.”
Boyer, a Phoenix Republican, said the bill was about preventing a mandate on “smart guns” – firearms that contain technology such as fingerprint recognition and that respond only to the owner, much like a newer iPhone.
The guns can contain GPS tracking that Boyer feared could be used by governments or hackers to locate them, or even remotely prevent them from firing.
More to the point, Boyer and Republicans on the committee feared smart guns are the first step toward gun control.
“I don’t trust the government,” Boyer said. “It really is a Second Amendment protection bill. I’m very concerned about someone trying to implement gun control.”
The representative expressed concerns about the unreliability of technology and said the bill is meant to protect gun owners in Arizona from the possibility of being tracked or finding themselves in a dangerous situation without a working gun.
Boyer said there would be “no mandate for a gun owner to have this technology either built in or conditioned of buying the gun,” but if they wanted the technology, gun owners are still able to purchase it, although they would have to sign a form.
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During the committee hearing, Democratic Rep. Daniel Hernandez of Tucson questioned how widespread smart guns were used throughout Arizona, to which Boyer responded that he simply wanted to make sure that smart gun technology was not a mandate moving forward.
While Hernandez voiced his hesitation about the bill, Dave Kopp, a lobbyist from the Arizona Citizens Defense League, wholeheartedly supported it.
Kopp compared the smart gun technology to the fingerprint capability of smartphones. Referring to the unreliability of the fingerprint technology, Kopp argued that if someone was in a gunfight, that person had only a second to fire a gun.
“What you don’t want (in a gunfight) is your gun to say ‘try again.’ Smart guns are not smart. It’s just that simple,” Kopp said.
There’s that Superman Complex again — a “good guy” gun owner needs to be able to get into a gunfight with the “bad guys” to save you. This occurs extremely rarely compared to the number of children who get their hands on an unprotected gun and accidentally shoot someone or shoot themselves.
Finally, there is the annual guns in public buildings bill, once again. GOP lawmaker again pushes bill on guns in public buildings:
Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, (who else) is renewing his effort to allow concealed carry permit holders to carry guns into some public buildings . . . after a bill he pushed last year failed to pass. Efforts in previous years also failed.
Senate Bill 1243 would require operators of public establishments to allow permit-holders to carry their firearms unless the business employs security guards and has metal detectors at entrances.
Courtrooms, federal buildings, high schools and universities, and the Maricopa Medical Center would be exempt.
Kavanagh said Tuesday that people screened for weapons permits can be trusted in public buildings.
“There’s no reason why people who have been screened and tested and are proficient can’t carry guns in public buildings, when people are carrying guns almost everywhere else,” Kavanagh said. “And criminals are already carrying guns in public buildings.”
Democratic Sen. Steve Farley said there’s plenty of buildings without screenings where guns should be banned, citing places such as the Department of Child Safety, where emotions can run high. He also said most gun owners don’t believe looser gun laws are needed in Arizona.
He said having armed people in buildings will just make things more difficult for police if they are called to a building for an emergency.
“A good guy with a gun isn’t something that law enforcement tells me is really easy to pick out,” Farley said. “When they come onto a shooting scene, they don’t know who’s the good guy and the bad guy.”
An analysis of last year’s bill showed the costs to secure state buildings at up to $6 million a year and up to $13 million a year at Maricopa County facilities alone. More than 300,000 Arizona residents have a concealed weapons permit, although one isn’t needed to carry a concealed gun.
Maybe this bill should be amended to provide a funding source for all this newly required security screening: let’s confiscate the campaign contributions that the Tea-Publicans who vote for this bill every year receive from the gun lobby. Put your money where your big mouths are instead of creating unfunded mandates that get imposed on financially strapped local governments in pursuit of your gun nut ideology.