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Gun bills moving through AZ Legislature

Guns in schools, gunshows, suppressors
Posted at 7:35 PM, Feb 27, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Changes in Arizona gun law are making their way through the legislature, affecting things like gun shows, guns on school campuses and even suppressors, sometimes called silencers.

Republicans hold the majority in the legislature and changes to gun laws are one of the ways they are using that power. Right now there are bills proposing that parents and guardians should be allowed to carry guns on a school campus if they have a concealed weapons permit, making sound suppressors legal, and taking away city and county authority to set rules for gun shows.

Nancy Fortin remembers the shooting that brought chaos to her neighborhood.

“There’s 20 or 25 kids running down this road and everywhere screaming and there was two teenagers huddling up by our door and I opened the door and said, ‘What the hell’s going on? They said, ‘Somebody’s shooting at us.”

Earlier this month a shooting broke out at a house party at a home near the airport. A 19-year-old died. Three sixteen-year-olds were hospitalized with gunshot wounds.

Tucson Police are still looking for the shooter or shooters so we don’t know where the gun came from.

The City of Tucson wants to stop gun sales where the buyer does not go through a background check. Tucson Convention Center used to host large gun shows but when the city decided to require background checks for gun sales on TCC property, the gun shows moved to other venues.

Ward 6 Councilmember Steve Kozachik says, “We have said for a long time that we are concerned about person to person sales, that you can stand on a street corner in the City of Tucson and open the trunk of your car and sell somebody an AR-15 for cash and carry, no questions asked, without any awareness of their criminal or psychological background. We want to make sure that if somebody's using the city property, that we are going to force those kinds of background checks to happen is simply a matter of safety to the public.”

State Senator Justine Wadsack’sdistrict is mostly in northern Pima County, curving southeast into Vail. She’s proposed a bill to restrict any city or county’s ability to enforce gun laws more strict than state law—including anything that would interfere with a gun show.

But Councilmember Kozachik says Tucson’s status as a charter city gives it authority to set its own laws and says court rulings have confirmed that.

We tried to reach Senator Wadsack to discuss her rationale for the bills, and tried to reach other sponsors or co-sponsors but we could not connect Monday.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.