Tactic to force vote on Arizona gun bill fails

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services  

Senate Republicans quashed a bid Tuesday to force a vote on legislation to forbid people from buying weapons unless they first have a background check.

The party-line vote came on a bid by Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale, to get a roll-call vote on his SB 1546. It was assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee but Sen. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, who chairs that panel, never agreed to even give it a hearing.

So Quezada used a procedural motion to waive the requirement for a committee hearing and demand the measure be brought immediately to the full Senate for a vote.

Only thing is, first it had to survive a vote to waive the rules. And none of the Republicans who control the Senate agreed to support that move, shutting down any chance of debate.

Federal law requires licensed firearms dealers to run a background check on would-be buyers before completing a purchase. But none of that covers person-to-person sales.

More to the point, that exception applies to sales made at gun shows, where individuals can bring their collection of weapons to sell to those in attendance. Quezada called that an unacceptable “loophole” given the number of mass shootings.

A series of surveys have shown strong support for universal background checks. Most recently that included a poll from Morning Consult and Politico, conducted one day after the killing of 19 students and two teachers in Uvalde, Tex. which found 81% said they want to make private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks.

Petersen, in explaining his opposition to bringing the bill to the floor, said the restriction would stop law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

“Criminals do not follow laws,” he said. “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Phoenix, called that “utter nonsense.”

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