Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Responsible steps to prevent (some) gun violence in Arizona

For that matter, when a child shoots an adult or another child, some adult or another is responsible.

Remember this from last summer when a 35-year old Prescott Valley man was shot and killed by his four year old son who was playing with a gun that had been left unsecured at a friend's house?

Or just days ago,
AMADO, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - A 3-year-old boy is recovering after accidentally shooting himself in the lower torso on Monday afternoon.
Pima County Sheriff's Deputies are continuing to investigate how the toddler got his hands on a loaded weapon in his own home.
Those incidents involve curious toddlers. What about teenagers, not exactly known for good judgment, when they are confronted with major emotional upset?
A 15-year-old boy fatally shot his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself Friday in a north Phoenix neighborhood, authorities say.
Anastasia Greer, 16, was said to have recently ended a romantic relationship with Matthew Bolton, her apparent killer. Bolton and Greer were classmates at Sandra Day O’Connor High School.
Phoenix police were called to a residential block near 40th Drive and Happy Valley Road following reports of gunshots shortly after noon and found the teens’ bodies outside a home where Greer, moments earlier, had been visiting a friend.
How can we prevent such tragedies without infringing on the right to own firearms AND without putting our children in greater danger?

State Rep. Victoria Steele (D-LD9/Tucson) introduced two bills that do, in fact, hold potential to make great strides in addressing these problems.

The first, HB2490 will provide $250,000 to the Arizona Department of Health Services to begin providing Mental Health First Aid training for people who routinely work with adolescents (high school teachers, counselors and coaches, for example). There appears to be broad support in the legislature for passing this bill. It could actually happen.

Then there's HB2542 which will make it a crime to leave an unsecured firearm where a minor can gain access to it.
A.  It is unlawful for a person to store or keep any loaded firearm on any premises under the person's control if the person knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain access to the firearm without the permission of the minor's parent or guardian, unless the person either:
1.  Keeps the firearm in a securely locked box or other container or in a location that a reasonable person would believe to be secure.
2.  Carries the firearm on his person or within such close proximity to his person that the person can readily retrieve and use the firearm as if it was carried on his person. [...]
D.  A person who fails to securely store or keep a loaded firearm in violation of subsection a of this section is strictly liable for damages if a minor obtains the firearm and causes injury or death to himself or another person.
E.  A violation of this section is a class 1 misdemeanor, except that if a minor obtains a firearm that is stored or kept in violation of subsection A of this section and the minor either:
1.  Kills himself or another person, it is a class 3 felony.
2.  Injures himself or another person, it is a class 4 felony. 
Exception is made if the firearm had been reported stolen or obtained by the minor as a result of an unlawful entry into the premises.

HB2542 was not even given a hearing by House Judiciary committee chairman Eddie Farnsworth.

Apparently, Eddie is just fine allowing children to kill or be killed with unattended firearms.

Kudos to Steele for daring to address this controversial but very important and urgent topic.

SHAME on Eddie Farnsworth for refusing to hear HB2542.

Eddie should get an earful from dissatisfied Arizona voters at (602) 926-5735; and a full email box at The Speaker of the House should also be put on notice that the people want these matters addressed. Now. Reach Tobin at (602) 926-5172 and

Please help Eddie and Speaker Andy Tobin get the message. Call both of them today.

If they fail to act, it will mean that when the next child is shot in Arizona by a gun left unattended, Eddie Farnsworth and Andy Tobin will have blood on their head (and hands).

Check out a listing of more recent "accidental" shootings in Arizona in the Phoenix New Times.

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