Profile in Courage: Rep. Randy Friese Stands Up for Gun Safety


Only one Arizona legislator had the courage to stand up against gun violence: Rep. Randy Friese, a Democrat from Tucson. Watch the 4-minute YouTube video or read the transcript below as he calls for his colleagues to act, just days after the Parkland, FL, mass murders.

Friese had introduced HB2023 to ban bump stocks, but he could not get it heard in the Judiciary and Public Safety Committee where it was assigned. He used procedural motion to bring the measure directly to the House floor for a vote. But Rep. John Allen, a Republican from Scottdale, used a second motion to stop it from being debated.

Every Republican member of the Arizona House voted against gun safety, refusing even to hear the bill against bump stocks.

The GOP legislators are intentionally out of touch with the electorate:

  • 72% of registered voters support a ban on bump stocks.
  • 88% of Americans support universal background checks.
  • 81% think that a person should be at least 21 to buy a gun.
  • 70% endorse a ban on high-capacity magazines.
  • 68% support a ban on assault weapons.

Rep. Friese’s speech on the Arizona House floor is truly a profile in courage.

We are facing an epidemic of gun violence. And this violence is everywhere, unfortunately, it’s in our schools. It’s touching the lives of children. We must act. The country is waiting for us to act. The time is now. We have an obligation to take action, we have a mandate to take action, we have the authority to take action. If we don’t recognize our authority to take action, we are failing. We are failing our country, we are failing our children, we are failing our students.

There are students in Florida today, since the last mass killings in schools, that have shown more leadership and courage than legislators across the country, than people who represent us in DC. I congratulate those young people. I ask us to be responsible to them and what they are asking us to do.

I see the effects of gun violence every day at my job in the hospital as a trauma surgeon. It’s devastating to tell a mother that her child has died because he simply stood at the door while gunfire was occurring in the street near their home. We have an epidemic in this country and we cannot continue to turn our backs on it. It is our responsibility to begin to address this problem.

Colleagues, this bill which I’m asking you to consider is simply a bill that addresses a device. It is a ban on bump stock and trigger cranks. These are accessories to a gun, this is not about the 2d amendment, this is not about a weapon, this is not about a gun.

This is about an accessory to a gun that allows it to fire 100 rounds a minute. It allows this weapon to be more lethal. This is an issue we should be paying attention to with utmost respect, concern, and urgency.

So I ask you to defeat this motion before you now so that we can move back to my original motion and consider and debate and discuss a bill that the nation is waiting for someone with the authority to do something to begin to discuss. It is our responsibility to begin this process.

It is not going to be easy, it’s going to be a long road, there will be many, many, many hours spend and lots of time trying to put together a solution that works.
But we cannot continue to refuse to do the hard work. We cannot continue to refuse to talk about what our constituents, what this nation, wants their leaders to discuss. How can we continue to ignore this problem?

I’m asking you to vote no on the substitute motion so we can get back to the business of solving a problem that is killing Americans, killing American students, killing American children. I’m asking you to vote no on this motion so we can get back to the business of what our constituents and what America wants us to do.

I’m asking you have the courage, I’m asking you to have the political will to allow this measure to come up for a debate. I’m asking you to allow the process to work. For three years now the process has been ignored. We have put forth bills to address the problems of gun violence in America. And the process has not been allowed to take effect. Please take three seconds and understand how important this is. This process must start, let’s start this process to start, let’s start this process now, and allow this bill to come to debate.

Every Republican member of the Arizona House voted against gun safety, refusing even to hear the bill against bump stocks.


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