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Senate Republicans block vote on Arizona gun legislation

Posted at 10:33 PM, May 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 01:33:31-04

PHOENIX — On Tuesday, Arizona Republican Senators blocked a vote on gun legislation.

Despite not being given a hearing, which is part of the legislative process, Democrats demanded a vote on Senate Bill 1546.

“It would have allowed us to bypass that committee process and have a vote on it today by the whole senate,” said Senator Martin Quezada.

Senator Quezada, who also serves as the Senate Minority Whip, said this measure would close the gun show loophole.

“Background checks are only required when you're going through a licensed dealer, but at gun shows those dealers aren't present,” said Senator Martin Quezada.

It would put more requirements in place for those types of purchases, including a background check.

Senators from both sides of the aisle went back and forth. Democrats saying, we need to start somewhere, and Republicans argued that more restrictions would not help.

But the effort was blocked by a vote of 16 to 13.

“That’s not the proper procedure first of all, and that's not a legislation I support,” said Senator Kelly Townsend.

Senator Townsend, like all of her fellow Republican Senators, voted no.

“More laws that are infringing on the Second Amendment rights of other Americans who are allowed is not the answer,” said Townsend.

She said the move felt like Democrats were using the recent mass shootings as political weight and accused them of grandstanding.

“Right now the first thing we need to do is secure these schools, and they aren't secure,” said Senator Townsend. “That’s item number one.”

She said taking guns away from areas, makes those places more of a target.

ABC15 asked if Townsend would support arming teachers.

“Absolutely,” said Townsend. “If they have proper training. If they want to do that.”

A crowd in the Senate chamber tried to cheer after the vote was blocked.

Other organizations like March for Our Lives said they will be present near the capitol complex over the next few days.

“I think we need to bring the heat up,” said Jacob Martinez with March for our Lives. “Show that not only are we going to organize and be here until they do [something], but people in general are listening and paying attention now and are not going to back down.”