Arizona lawmakers react to Texas mass shooting as pro-gun bills move in Legislature

Gov.Ducey ordered flags at state buildings be lowered to half-staff through sunset Saturday in memory of the victims./Facebook

By Stacey Barchenger and Ray Stern | Arizona Republic

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and lawmakers at the state Capitol mourned the loss of young students and adults in a shooting at a Texas school Tuesday, the deadliest massacre at an elementary school in a decade.

Ducey ordered flags at state buildings be lowered to half-staff through sunset Saturday in memory of the victims, which includes at least 18 schoolchildren.

“Our prayers are with the parents, families, students and staff of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, at this unimaginable time,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “Today’s events are heartbreaking and soul-wrenching. We are thankful for the heroic efforts of medical professionals, law enforcement and community members who responded so quickly.”

Officials in Texas, including Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, said an 18-year-old shooter went into the elementary school in Uvalde just before noon Central time on Tuesday and opened fire. About 16,000 people live in Uvalde, roughly 85 miles west of San Antonio.

The shooter was likely killed by police, Abbott said.

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Ducey has billed himself a Second Amendment proponent, and he’s previously made strides to make Arizona more friendly to gun owners and the industry. He’s also supported creating a court process like those commonly allowed via red-flag laws that permit law enforcement or relatives to go to court to temporarily remove someone’s weapons.

Arizona Rep. Jennifer Longdon, D-Phoenix, who lost the ability to walk after she was shot in a still-unsolved act of violence in 2004, was supposed to give the invocation as the House of Representatives convened on Tuesday. But on her way to the session, Longdon said she realized what she had written was inadequate to address the Texas massacre of schoolchildren.

With permission from House leaders, she instead led a moment of silence for the victims.

“These families, along with others experiencing gun violence — they deserve that moment of reflection from us,” Longdon said. “But it is not enough.”

Longdon is a gun owner herself who has introduced several firearm-related bills, including a proposal for mandatory storage of guns and ammunition. In February, she joined a national Democratic effort to overturn “stand your ground” laws.

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