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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signs bill to preempt federal gun laws

Posted at 6:29 PM, Apr 06, 2021

PHOENIX — On Thursday President Biden is expected to announce a series of executive actions addressing gun violence. No matter what those actions are, there is a very good chance that in Arizona, they’ll be ignored.

The group Moms Demand Action assembled outside the executive tower on Tuesday. They were hoping to convince the governor to veto HB 2111. In his office, nine floors up, Governor Ducey signed the bill.

“We know there is nothing silly about anything that would make us less safe and that’s what this law will ultimately do,” Steffanie Richardson of Moms Demand Action said. “So we were trying to prevent that. We wanted the governor to recognize that and veto it. Unfortunately, he signed into law.”

HB 2111 is a pre-emptive strike by the Arizona Legislature to block any type of federal gun reform that its supporters say endangers the second amendment. During a February committee hearing, the bill’s sponsor State Representative Leo Biasiucci of Lake Havasu City said, “we in the state of Arizona don’t want the federal government to infringe on our second amendment rights regardless whether it’s banning background checks or AR15’s it’s up to the state to decide that.”

The pressure on President Biden to act against gun violence intensified after mass shooting incidents in Georgia and Colorado last month. 18 people were killed.

The New York Times is reporting the president is considering classifying so called ghost guns as firearms. He is also looking into ways to strengthen background checks.

On KTAR’s morning news program the governor said it’s for reasons like that he sign the bill.

“I think whenever there are these mass shootings we start talking about laws that simply wouldn’t fix the problem,” Ducey said. “There is a lot of discussion out of Washington about Congressional action around the second amendment and this law was simply to protect the rights we already enjoy in Arizona.”

Gun safety advocates believe HB 2111 is unconstitutional and will be overturned in court.

“I really question what this law is for other than just being performative and political theater,” Richardson said.

Others liken it to Arizona’s legalization of recreational marijuana. Possession is still a federal crime but that didn’t stop voters from ignoring the law.