Democrats Push for 'Assault Weapons' Ban in Arizona with Control of Legislature in Play


Arizona Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation last week to ban so-called assault weapons in the Grand Canyon State.

The legislation, Senate Bill 1625, is not likely to pass in the narrowly Republican-controlled Legislature this session, but it is seen as a political play to try to flip Arizona from red to blue.

“It’s a political statement to their base to let them know, ‘This is what we’re going to do,’” Arizona GOP state Rep. Anthony Kern told The Western Journal.

“Elections have consequences,” he added, arguing that Virginia serves as a cautionary tale of what could happen in his state.

Last November, Democrats regained control of both chambers of the commonwealth’s General Assembly for the first time since 1994, The Hill reported.

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The Virginia House of Delegates passed an “assault firearm” ban on Tuesday.

The legislation cleared the House on a 51-48 vote, with all Republican lawmakers opposing it and nearly all Democrats voting for the measure.

House Bill 961 will now go to the Virginia Senate, where it is expected to pass and be signed into law by Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam.

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The current breakdown in the Arizona House of Representatives is 31 Republicans and 29 Democrats, while the GOP has a larger 17-13 advantage in the Senate.

The Arizona GOP’s four-seat advantage in the Senate gives the party a little more cushion than the two-seat margin Republicans held in Virginia prior to November.

“It’s going to be one of the most intense elections we’ve ever had, and Arizona hangs in the balance,” Kern said.

Similar to Virginia’s ban, Arizona’s proposed legislation would make it unlawful to manufacture, import, possess, purchase, sell or transfer so-called assault weapons or large-capacity magazines.

An assault weapon is defined as a semiautomatic rifle or pistol that has the capacity to accept a magazine with more than 10 rounds.

SB 1625 provides 90 days following passage of the legislation to remove the weapon from the state, surrender it to law enforcement officials, render it permanently inoperable or register it with law enforcement officials under certain conditions.

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Kern argued it is a “slippery slope” to take away Arizonans’ semiautomatic rifles for the sake of “feel good” legislation that would have little or no impact on preventing violent crime.

“Today it’s your assault rifle. Tomorrow it’s your handgun,” he said. “Criminals will always find their way around the law, and they will always be able to get their weapons.”

Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward agreed.

“The Second Amendment exists as a bulwark against those who would deprive American citizens of their lives, their liberty, and their property,” Ward said in a statement to The Western Journal.

“That is why the Republican Party of Arizona will always firmly uphold every individual’s God-given and inalienable right to keep and bear arms,” she continued.

“This right predates even the Constitution, and our Founders were wise to ensure that it was enshrined in our Bill of Rights,” Ward said.

The Western Journal reached out to Sens. Rebecca Rios and Lela Alston, who among other Democrats introduced SB 1625, for comment, but has not received a response.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 3,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith