Arizona gun owners are speaking out against several gun control bills making their way through the state legislature. A recent gun rights rally at the capital drew five times more attendees than usual as protestors lobbied against an “assault weapons” ban, a magazine ban, and a universal background check bill.
“There is a Senate bill regarding a ban of assault weapons and we don’t agree with that bill,” one attendee, David Edie, told AZ Central. “We’re here to show our support for the Second Amendment and our right to bear arms.”
Another attendee, Carolyn Sherman, acknowledged that gun control bills have little chance of passing the Republican-controlled legislature, but also encouraged gun owners to stay vigilant.
“Even if they’re not passed now, it’s sort of chipping away at the wall,” she said. “The more you chip at it, the more it cracks, and the more it cracks, the more rubble falls, and pretty soon the wall comes down.”
Rally organizers told AZ Central that the largest turnout before this year was about 500 people. This year, the event drew 2,500.
Republicans hold a 17-13 majority in the Senate and a slim 31-29 majority in the House. Gun control bills are unlikely to reach the governor’s desk, but that hasn’t stopped gun control proponents from introducing legislation to limit Second Amendment rights.
Senate Bill 1625 was introduced by Democratic Senator Rebecca Rios and co-sponsored by 11 additional Democratic senators. The bill would ban the manufacture, importation, possession, purchase, sale, or transfer of “assault weapons” as well as magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds.
Anyone in possession of illegal magazines before the law’s effective date would be required to remove the items from the state, destroy them, or surrender them. The law would require owners of “assault weapons” to do the same, but also allows eligible possessors to register their rifles with the state.
Senate Bill 1624 would prohibit the private sale of firearms by requiring that all sales be conducted via a federally licensed dealer. The law requires a prospective firearm seller to surrender his or her firearm to a dealer, who must conduct a background check on the prospective buyer. If the buyer is a prohibited person, the dealer must also conduct a background check on the seller before returning the firearm.
The law makes some exceptions to this requirement. Immediate family members can transfer a firearm to each other as long as the firearm is a “bona fide gift.” People can also temporarily transfer firearms to another person at a gun range as long as the firearm never leaves the range, and to adult hunters as long as the owner stays with the hunter.
Both bills have been assigned to the Judiciary Committee, which has yet to take up either measure.