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Arizona Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action, Everytown Applaud Filing Of Bipartisan Legislation To Keep Guns Out Of The Hands Of Domestic Abusers

SB1165; HB2543 Would Close Gaps that Give Domestic Abusers Easier Access to Guns 

Between 2012 and 2016, the Rate of Intimate Partner Gun Homicide in Arizona was 66 Percent Higher Than The National Average. 

PHOENIX, Ariz.  – The Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Students Demand Action, both a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded the filing of Senate Bill 1165 and House Bill 2543, bipartisan legislation to disarm domestic abusers. The bills were filed today by Sen. Kate Brophy McGee (R), Sen. Sean Bowie (D), Sen. Heather Carter (R), Rep. Jennifer Longdon (D), Rep. Tony Rivero (R) and Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D). 

“We have to do everything we can to break the cycle of domestic violence,” said Geneva Haber, a volunteer with the Arizona chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. “Our lawmakers are taking important first steps to strengthen Arizona gun laws for women and families. We’re thrilled to see bipartisan progress in the legislature, and we’ll be at the statehouse until these bills are Arizona law.”

“Arizona needs to better protect women and families,” said Grace Xu, a volunteer with the Mountain Ridge High School chapter of Arizona Students Demand Action. “The link between domestic violence and gun violence is deadly. We thank Arizona lawmakers for taking the first important step to filing legislation to help keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and we urge the legislature to take it up in committee swiftly.”

“Arizona gun laws make it too easy for domestic abusers to get a gun,” said Sen. Kate Brophy McGee, a member of the Arizona Senate and sponsor of SB1165. “That is unacceptable. Across the country, there is a wide bipartisan consensus to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, and it’s time our state caught up by putting this law on the books. I’m proud to file legislation that protects victims of domestic violence in Arizona.”

“Keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers should be a priority for all Arizonans,” said Rep. Jennifer Longdon, member of the Arizona House and sponsor of HB2543. “We can’t continue to sit by as gun-related domestic violence continues to take the lives of Arizona women and families. As a survivor of gun violence myself, I’m proud to collaborate with my colleagues in the Arizona House and Senate to file legislation that will offer victims and survivors of domestic violence the full protection of the law.”

Abusers with firearms are five times more likely to kill their female victims, and guns further exacerbate the power and control dynamic used by abusers to inflict emotional abuse and exert coercive control over their victims. SB1165 and HB2543 would match Arizona law to federal law in prohibiting domestic abusers who are subject to a final domestic violence protection order or convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from purchasing or possessing firearms, giving local law enforcement the tools to bring abusers to justice if they illegally own firearms. The bills would also fill in gaps in federal law by prohibiting convicted dating partners from purchasing or possessing firearms, as well as requiring that abusers turn in guns they already own, so they can’t do further harm with guns they have at home.

Arizona state gun laws are among the weakest in the country, with no legal requirement for background checks on unlicensed gun sales, and Arizona experiences high rates of domestic violence gun homicide. Between 2012 and 2016, the rate of intimate partner gun homicide in Arizona was 66 percent higher than the national average. But to date, the legislature in Arizona has refused to take action to reduce gun violence, even when more than 1,000 Arizonans are shot and killed every year. During the last legislative session, Arizona lawmakers introduced a bipartisan bill to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers, only to have lawmakers run out the clock in committee hearings. 

Twenty-nine states from every region of the country have already taken action to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. Many of those measures have passed with strong bipartisan majorities and have been signed into law by Republican governors, including Gary Herbert in Utah, Brian Sandoval in Nevada, and Vice President Mike Pence in Indiana.