Arizona lawmakers weigh in on gun control during tense day on Capitol Hill

Posted at 10:19 PM, Jun 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-23 14:13:50-04

Wednesday was tense on Capitol Hill as lawmakers struggled to draft new gun laws that a vast majority of Americans want in the Orlando massacre aftermath. 

House democrats staged a sit-in that shut down the session in an effort to force GOP leaders to allow a gun control vote.  Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego, Democrat, said he would stay on the House floor with other Democrats through the weekend if need be.

“The response from Speaker [Paul] Ryan has been nothing.  Just ignoring the fact, more and more people are dying in mass shootings,” Gallego told ABC15 during a phone interview from the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Senate is still trying to pass new legislation after four failed tries already this week.

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake is part of a new effort to pass yet another gun control bill.  The Collins compromise, named after Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine, has support from both Democratic and Republican lawmakers and is considered to have a realistic chance at passing.

The bill focuses on the “no fly, no buy” idea that people on the federal “no fly” list should also be prohibited from buying a gun.  The bill would also require notifying the FBI if someone on the much broader terrorism watch list tries to buy a gun, but wouldn’t necessarily prevent the sale as Democrats had hoped for earlier in the week.

“Then when this individual in Florida [Pulse shooting] would have gone to buy a weapon, the FBI would have been notified and they could have followed up,” said Sen. Flake, arguing that the compromise he supports could have stopped the Orlando massacre.

But both the federal no-fly list and the terrorism watch list are considered too secretive for some gun lovers.  The no-fly list has thousands of names, while the terrorism watch list is thought to have more than one million names.

“What's to stop them from putting 30 percent of my customers, who are not foreign terrorists… on a list and they don't even know it,” said Jeff Serdy, who owns gun store AJI Sporting Goods in Apache Junction.

Serdy said he supports prohibitions on gun sales to people with mental health issues.  A new CNN/ORC poll shows 87 percent of Americans agree with Serdy on that point.