State lawmakers oppose new weapon restrictions

Legislator uses Boston blasts to bolster gun stand
2013-04-16T00:00:00Z State lawmakers oppose new weapon restrictionsHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
April 16, 2013 12:00 am  • 

An Arizona lawmaker pointed to the explosions that rocked the Boston Marathon and their aftermath as yet another reason Americans need to preserve their easy access to weapons.

The state House voted Monday to reaffirm its support of the Second Amendment and oppose new restrictions on weapons.

As part of that debate, Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, told colleagues she had just read that authorities in Boston had shut down cellphones that were used "to promote remote detonations of explosives."

"In a situation like this today, if I was in Boston and I needed a cellphone to call 911 to protect myself from someone, and I wasn't able to do that, I certainly would hope that I would be able to have a weapon to protect my children," she said.

Townsend said "times are changing," and many people no longer have "land-line" phones, instead relying solely on cellphones, which increases their vulnerability in some situations.

Later reports said there was no shutdown of cell service but simply that the system was overwhelmed in the wake of the bombings.

Much of Monday's debate over SCR 1015 went to the question of whether a belief in the Second Amendment means a belief that there should be absolutely no restriction on who can have a gun, where they can carry it, whether background checks are appropriate and what type of weapon someone can possess. Rep. Jonathan Larkin, D-Glendale, said he supports the constitutional right to bear arms but said laws must reflect changing times.

The measure, approved on a 33-21 margin, says not only that lawmakers support the right of individuals to keep and bear arms but "reject the consideration of new legislation that would infringe on this constitutionally protected right."

SCR 1015, already approved by the Senate, has no legal force, as Arizona legislators cannot affect what is happening in Congress. And lawmakers themselves remain free to impose state limits on gun possession or sales, though every measure approved by the Legislature for the last few years has actually eased restrictions.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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