Tucson Senator proposes stricter state gun laws
Reporter: Craig Smith
PHOENIX (KGUN9-TV) - Is Arizona ready for tighter restrictions on guns? A Tucson lawmaker says its time to try.
Democratic Tucson State Senator Linda Lopez outlined what she had in mind during a news conference on the State Capitol's lawn Thursday.
Arizona lawmakers have a history or passing laws that make it easier to own guns and keep them handy. Two years ago, for instance they removed a lot of the requirements for carrying concealed weapons.
Now Tucson State Senator Linda Lopez says she'll try to change state law in three ways including a plan to remove exemptions that allowed people to buy guns without background checks.
Lopez's news conference on the capitol's lawn was dedicated to the idea that politicians and the public are ready to move away from locked in, long held positions when it comes to guns.
Geraldine Hills of Arizonans for Gun Safety said, "We need to move past partisan one liners and stereotypes of gun nuts vs. gun grabbers."
Senator Lopez says she'll introduce bills to:
-Require Universal background checks for gun purchases, including person to person sales and gun show sales exempt right now.
-Restrict high capacity ammo clips by making it illegal to own, sell or transfer clips that hold more than ten rounds.
-Repeal a state law designed to keep law enforcement from destroying guns seized in connection with a crime. The law requires police to sell the guns to licensed dealers instead.
KGUN9 reporter Craig Smith asked Lopez: "When you look at how this Legislature has expanded gun rights even after high profile shootings, what do you think might be different this time?"
Sen. Lopez: "I think that, the population, the citizens have reached a tipping point. I do think Sandy Point was, 'Ok, this is enough. We can't take any more of this.' We saw the pictures of the little kids. That tears at our heart strings. Quite frankly, though, those 20 children that died there, that's a small minority compared to the number of children who die every year in this country as a result of gun violence. "
Senator Lopez is a Democrat. Republicans still hold strong majorities in the Arizona Senate and House and can make it tough for Lopez bills to go anywhere.
While in Phoenix we tried to get the views of Senate Republican leaders. They want to see the details of Lopez bill before they consider commenting.
We also tried to get an interview with NRA board member Todd Rathner. He's often involved with state legislation involving guns. He has been out of town at an NRA conference. He's said he's willing to talk but we were not able to connect for an interview before deadline.