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Arizona Legislature Temporarily Adjourns Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Leaving Life-Saving Measures to Disarm Domestic Abusers Awaiting Consideration

On Monday night, the Arizona legislature temporarily adjourned its legislative session due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite calls for life-saving measures to protect Arizonans in social isolation alongside abusive partners or family members, the legislature adjourned before considering measures to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. 

Arizona’s gun laws are among the weakest in the country, with no legal requirement for background checks on unlicensed gun sales, and not nearly enough has been done in Arizona to keep guns away from domestic abusers. To date, the legislature in Arizona has refused to take action to reduce gun violence, and more than 1,000 Arizonans are shot and killed every year. 

Here’s why disarming domestic abusers is critical in Arizona: 

  • Domestic violence and gun violence are inextricably linked. Every month, an average of 53 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner in the United States. Nearly 1 million women alive today have reported being shot or shot at by intimate partners, and 4.5 million women have reported being threatened with a gun. And between 2014 and 2018, 87 women in Arizona were fatally shot by a partner.
  • Between 2012 and 2016, the rate of intimate partner gun homicide in Arizona was 66 percent higher than the national average. And amid COVID-19 closures, concerns for domestic violence among families in isolation continue to grow. 
  • When children and teens are killed in mass shootings, the shooting is often tied to domestic violence. Of the 309 children and teens killed in mass shootings in the past 10 years, 72 percent died in an incident connected to an intimate partner or family violence. 
  • Arizonans overwhelmingly support domestic violence legislation. Polling found that Arizonans overwhelmingly support stronger gun laws by an 8:1 margin – including a bill to disarm domestic abusers. 

 Earlier this year, a bipartisan group of Arizona lawmakers led by Republican Senator Kate Brophy McGee and Democratic Representatives and gun violence survivors Jennifer Longdon and Daniel Hernandez introduced SB 1165 and HB 2543. Instead of advancing this life-saving legislation, Republicans in the legislature prioritized and pushed forward risky legislation that would jeopardize the safety of Arizonans, such as a policy to mandate armed school marshalls and a bill that would have created new liability for public entities that choose to prohibit firearms — both of which were ultimately defeated.  

More information about domestic violence legislation available here. Statistics about gun violence in Arizona are available here, and information on how Arizona’s gun laws compare to other states’ overall is available here.