ICYMI: ‘gun nuts week’ at the Arizona Lege

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.

* * *

“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.

* * *

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.

15 Responses to ICYMI: ‘gun nuts week’ at the Arizona Lege

  1. Senator John Kavanagh

    Sloppy blogging AzBM. My bill does not mandate businesses to allow guns inside their premises. My bill only covers certain GOVERNMENT buildings.

    • AZ BlueMeanie

      Still an unfunded mandate that shifts costs to local governments that are already financially strapped (due to the AZ Lege raiding their funds), just as I said. You need new reading glasses.

  2. “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.”

    You apparently missed the part where the Obama Administration quietly withdrew their reqirements for “smart gun” technology after every Federal Law Enforcement Agency rejected the requirements as unworkable and unreliable and requested they be withdrawn before the requirements interfered with the ability to buy the standard firearms. “Smart guns” are an imaginary figment from the fevered minds of the anti-gun lobby. No one has been able to come up with anything close to workable.

    “Never mind that there’s no such requirement, and no American companies are currently making or even selling “smart guns.”

    Right. And no one was even thinking about trying to make it a law, right? In this case, a pre-emptive strike is a good idea.

    “Democratic Sen. Steve Farley said… most gun owners don’t believe looser gun laws are needed in Arizona.”

    Wow. Now there is an authority on what Arizona Gun Owners want…an anti-gun democrat. Come on, AzBM, you can do better than that.

    “… let’s confiscate the campaign contributions that the Tea-Publicans who vote for this bill every year receive from the gun lobby.”

    Here is a better idea. Let’s confiscate the campaign contributions that the democrats who vote against this bill every year receive from the anti-gun lobby. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      I knew I’d find a post from you here. 🙂

      One of the biggest fears the gun-fetish folks have is a National Registry of Gun Owners.

      I have news for you NRA folks, there’s already a registry of gun owners, it’s called the Internet, and it’s very, very accurate.

      If you’ve ever bought a gun/ammo online, Big Data knows.

      If you’ve ever even just looked at a gun ad on craigslist, Big Data knows.

      If you’ve ever used a credit card to buy a gun/ammo Big Data knows.

      If you’ve ever called or been to a gun range Big Data knows, assuming you took your cell phone with you.

      Gun show visit, Big Data knows, post comments about the 2A on a blog, Big Data knows. NRA membership, mailing list? Guns and Ammo subscription?

      Yep.

      And if you never use a phone or credit card or the internet for your guns and ammo, guess what? There’s an algorithm they use to predict with 99% accuracy that you love them sexy guns, and Big Data knows.

      They call them shadow profiles. Someone who’s never been on the grid still has an incredibly accurate shadow profile on Google, Facebook, and the rest.

      Everything you do is tracked online, credit cards and banks and cell carriers and your ISP all sell your information to data consolidators.

      Big Data. Then they use that information to market products to you, to influence political campaigns, set your insurance rates.

      And thanks to our good buddy Edward Snowden, we know that the NSA has been watching everything Americans do for years. Tapped directly into the source.

      There’s already a big list of gun owners, and they know the how many, the caliber, and model of every weapon in your gun safe.

      Hoping you all have gun safe’s, anyway. I could ask Big Data, they’ll know.

      You can thank Bush/Cheney and yes, even Obama, for that Really Big List of Gun Owners.

      Heck, the NRA itself has a list of gun owners, probably shared with Smith and Wesson.

      • Of course you would find me commenting here. I have made no secret that, when it comes to guns, I am “one issue voter” (or very close to it).

        Your exhaustive list missed one of the biggest buggaboos of all: the ATF Form 4473 which is filled out every time you buy a gun from a firearms dealer. The dealer keeps it as long as he is in business and then sends it to the ATF when he quits the business. It is a permanent record of every gun buy that contains every bit of information on the buyer. Also, when the firearms is purchased, the dealer calls the ATF to make certain the buyer is not prohibited from buying it. The ATF issues a clearance number and then retains it in their files.

        Add that to all the things you listed and there is quite a trail left behind. BUT it is not gun registration which would be far worse. With all those things we mentioned, it is one level deep. there is no Federal requirement to track that firearm further if it is sold or traded. With registration, just like registration on your car, if the firearm is sold or traded, the new owner has to register as the new owner. The trail on the firearm goes on and on.

        It is nobodys business what guns I own. Especially not the governments.

        • So, why do you accept (or at least tolerate) vehicular registration, but vehemently oppose firearm registration?

          I would argue that in much of the country, a vehicle is far more necessary to manage one’s day-to-day affairs than a firearm. Now, I’ll freely admit my bias and differences of opinion from you, but the phrase ‘firearm registration would be just like vehicle registration’ sounds like a good thing to me, excepting the whole thing that I’ve never seen the DMVanywhere even remotely approach timeliness.

          • “So, why do you accept (or at least tolerate) vehicular registration, but vehemently oppose firearm registration?”

            You are comparing apples to oranges, Edward.

            No one has ever discussed taking away my car. There are a lot of people who would like to take my firearms. No one has ever used vehicle registration rolls to seize vehicles. Both California and New Jersey have used firearm registration rolls (required in those States) to seize firearms. Other countries have used firearms registration rolls to seize firearms from their populations. There is a long history of firearms registration being the first step to seizing them.

            THAT is why I, and virtually all gun owners oppose firearms registration. Such records will inevitably be used to seize the weapons regardless of whatever assurances are given that will never happen. Government laws and rules change all the time and no good can come from firearms registration.

    • > “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

      I agree. Let’s have open carry at the State Capitol and the Governor’s Mansion. If they don’t want open carry in their work, I don’t want them to legalize it in mine.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Well said.

      • You are a smart individual, Edward. Let me ask you…do you really think that posting a sign at the door of the business where you work stating “NO GUNS ALLOWED” will actually stop someone with a gun who wants to come into your business? You can hire Security Services with metal detectors, and then you find yourself under seige and hiding behind some false sense of security because, as has been demonstrated before, security services really don’t offer much security.

        The truth is that the odds you will ever encounter a problem where someone threatens you with a gun are so infinitesimally small that you can’t get odds on it from a bookie. But, as my first firearms instructor told me many years ago, “The chance you will ever need a gun is practically nonexistant. But if it turns out you do need one, then there is no substitute.”

        I do understand your position, though. I really do. Many people like you are afraid of guns (or at least afraid of other people with guns) and you think avoiding them will keep you safe. If you are one of the unfortunate very few for whom that is not true, you will discover the truth in my firearms instructors admonition. I did, and it made me a believer.

        • I work for the University of Arizona. I don’t want a bunch of 18 year-old kids with big, frail egos going around waving My First Handgun in the air and getting shot in the back and killed because of some frat dare.

          I don’t fear guns (or responsible gun owners!) so much as I fear a bunch of 18-20 year old students acting stupidly and ending up killing someone. And being a graduate student who has taught multiple classes on campus, yes, I absolutely believe that’s a non-negligible possibility.

          • Actually, Edward, I agree with you. So does the law. That is why you have to be 21 to own a pistol.

            Fortunately, most college students are fragile snowflakes and are scared to death of guns. It would never occur to them to even own a gun, much less carry it. ;o)

          • Senator John Kavanagh

            Read my bill, Ed. It does not include the public schools or universities.

        • For Sure Not Tom

          Here’s what people like Steve won’t admit: When someone stands up in a theater and starts shooting, the good guy with a gun who is actually well trained to use their weapon is also trained to leave.

          They’re taught that their only responsibility is to themselves and their family, and that opening fire on a bad guy could open them up to lawsuits if they are not in clear danger.

          It’s called self-defense for a reason.

          • What you are saying is possibly true. It depends on the individual. It is one of the very sad and very leftist legacies of our society that the first response to virtually anything bad that happens in life is a lawsuit. If you use your firearm to stop someone who is shooting to kill other people, you can anticipate there will be serious legal complication, even if the shooting of that person meets all the requirements of a justified shooting.

            If the person you shoot lives, that person will sue you even if they are being prosecuted for killing others. If that person dies, you can count on his family suing you because you killed the shooter. Again, even if the shooting was justified in all respects, you risk a liberal court finding you guilty of a civil offense where the burden of proof is not “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but rather “the preponderance of the evidence”. All it takes is one or two anti-gun nuts on the jury and you are screwed.

            Like all reasonable in our society, I carry a hefty insurance policy to cover me in the event I am sued. As I said, our litigious society makes it almost a necessity if you have anything worth suing you over.

            Of course, your message was intended to put gun owners down, but I see nothing wrong with a gun owner choosing not to draw his weapon if he is not threatened. Why should anti-gun people (like Edward, my sisters, and you) live under the protective umbrella of gun owners when they do so much to destroy the very right that might save them? What obligation is created among gun owners to protect the fools who would take guns away from them?