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Arizona history shows deep-rooted rejection towards gun reform, despite Boulder tragedy

Posted at 5:51 AM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 08:53:28-04

Denny Strong, Neven Stanisic, Rikki Olds, Tralona Bartkowiak, Teri Leiker, Eric Talley, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, and Jodi Waters.

Those are the names of the 10 men and women whose lives were taken in Boulder, Colorado, this week.

This isn’t the first time Americans are reeling over the loss of innocent lives, and it’s not the first mass casualty event that’s amplified voices calling for gun law reform.

“ I don’t need to wait another minute, let alone an hour to take common-sense steps that will save the lives of the future,” said President Joe Biden Tuesday. "We can ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in this country once again.”

Biden urged U.S. Senators to push forward two pieces of legislation aimed at fixing loopholes in the system. The first would extend the window for completing a background check before sale, while a second would extend background checks to all sales and transfers of firearms in the US.

Most Arizonans have historically remained outspoken against gun reform measures, even in the wake of mass shootings across the country.

“It’s always a tragedy when anyone is harmed in any way," said Jeff Serdy, owner of AJI sporting goods in Apache Junction. Serdy says gun sales have skyrocketed since the pandemic began, but have continued to go up as leaders discuss legislative efforts that some believe would create more restrictions.

“I don’t think that’s the effect that Washington wanted, but that’s what happened,” he added.

Many supporters of the Second Amendment in Arizona worry some gun reform measures would add obstacles for lawful gun owners, rather than make it more difficult for those who wish to commit violence to get their hands on a weapon.

“Criminals are not going to obey more laws.” said Serdy. “Let’s enforce the ones that we already have.”

RELATED: Following Boulder mass shooting, is new gun control legislation possible in Congress?

“People either know that you cannot pass a law to change that phenomenon or they believe that politicians don’t have the spine to pass laws to change things,” said political analyst Stan Barnes. “Those two camps are clear and the Arizona people are of the basic belief that the laws only go so far and you can’t stop crazy people and you can’t stop criminals.”

Still, many others say they’re tired of sitting by while more families lose children and loved ones to gun violence.

“I never want you to have to know what it feels like,” said Tom Teves. “That’s been our goal since Alex was taken from us.”

Teves lost his son in 2012 after a gunman opened fire inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

“A normal human being does not sneak up on people and shoot them with a semi-automatic weapon,” he said. “Unfortunately, if it keeps going there’s going to be way too many people like me. How many good people are we gonna lose?”