By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services
Beaten back two years in a row, Gov. Doug Ducey may take another try at enacting legislation to allow parents and school officials to ask judges to take guns away from people who are a danger to themselves or others.
“We thought it was good policy then,” press aide C.J. Karamargin told Capitol Media Services Wednesday in the wake of the shooting in Texas that left 19 students and two teachers dead.
“We still do,” he said. “And we remain committed to measures to increase school safety.”
Ducey did manage to get his plan out of the Senate in 2018 by agreeing to dilute some of the provisions, only to have the House refuse to take it up.
A subsequent bid in 2019 fared no better. And Ducey has not brought it up since amid opposition from the fellow Republicans who control both the House and Senate.
“Politics intervened,” the governor told Capitol Media Services at the time.
But Karamargin said his boss never has completely given up on the idea.
“We thought then, and still do, it was a common-sense plan that protects the Second Amendment rights for law-abiding citizens while keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals who are a lethal threat,” he said.
The current legislative session is at a point where new policy bills are not supposed to be introduced.
In fact, the session should have wrapped up a month ago. But lawmakers remain at the Capitol because they have yet to approve a spending plan for the new fiscal year that begins July 1.
But Ducey has the constitutional power to call lawmakers into a special session — even one that runs concurrently with the regular session – to address specific issues. And Karamargin said he will not rule that out, saying a decision is “undetermined at this time.”
Any bill the governor would ask be enacted would go to a highly divided legislature.
In a floor speech Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, said the reason children were murdered in Texas is directly attributable to the lack of action by not just Republicans in the U.S. Senate on gun-reform legislation but also “by state legislatures just like ours that refuse to act to end the gun violence epidemic in this country but rather send a nicely packaged ‘thought and prayers’ message.”