In the wake of the revelation that people who admit that they can't pass a background check yet can still walk into a gun show in Arizona and buy the same gun and clip that was used in the Tucson mass shooting, Sen. Steve Gallardo introduced SB1586, closing the infamous "gun show loophole."
Today, victims and families of victims of gun violence gathered with Gallardo at the State Capitol to support Sen. Gallardo and his proposal.
Clockwise from top left: Sen. Steve Gallardo, Gerry Hills, Jennifer Longdon, and Jose and Guadalupe Guzman
The numbers presented by Sen. Gallardo and Hildy Saizow, President of Arizonans for Gun Safety, are frightening (AZ is 10th in number of firearms exported to other states that were later used in crimes, and 13th in rate per 100K population; AZ is 7th in gun-related deaths, and 6th in gun related killings).
However, as frightening as the numbers may be, that fright is dwarfed by the heartbreak of the tragedy of gun violence -
Jennifer Longdon told of how she was paralyzed by random gunfire in 2004, during an incident that also left her fiancee with brain damage.
Jose and Guadalupe Guzman told the story of their son, Guillermo Rodriguez, killed in 2005 during a robbery at a Subway in Phoenix.
Gerry Hills, a Republican and a board member of Arizonans for Gun Safety, whose brother, a Michigan police officer, was killed by someone who obtained guns despite a having documented history of mental illness.
James Hinckley, shot and paralyzed during an argument when he was 17 with another teenager.
Erica Sander, Ms. Wheelchair Arizona, shot multiple times and paralyzed in 2003.
I was going to go with one of Sen. Gallardo's quotes as the title of this post, but when one of the reporters present asked the group how they would respond to critics of their position when those critics say that the threat posed by guns is no greater than the threats that are posed by certain ideas, books or even cults, a better option presented itself.
As gun violence survivor Jennifer Longdon pointed out,
"A cult didn't sever my spine."
Arizona Republic coverage, written by Alia Beard Rau, here.
KPHO (Phoenix Channel 5) coverage, from Elizabeth Erwin, here.
KSAZ (Phoenix Channel 10) coverage here (it's a Fox affiliate, and I hate to link to anything Fox, but it's got video, slanted though the story may be)
Pics from the day -
Gallardo and Hills
James Hinkley and Erica Sander
Saizow, Jose Guzman, Guadalupe Guzman, Hills, Longdon