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Arizona Legislature advances bill blocking background checks on private gun sales

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PHOENIX — The Arizona Legislature passed a bill Monday that would block state and local governments from requiring background checks on private gun sales.

Under the proposal by Republican Sen. Gail Griffin, Arizona municipalities would be barred from closing the so-called “gun show loophole.”

Senate Bill 1122 would prevent areas from requiring a third party or the use of background checks in the “private sale, gift, donation or other transfer of personal property.”

The House approved the measure with a 32-23 vote. The Senate passed the measure on a 16-14 vote in March, with all Democrats and Republican Sen. Brophy McGee voting against it.

The bill now goes to Gov. Doug Ducey for consideration.

McGee has said she voted against the bill because of its broad language and concerns it could lead to unintended consequences.

Supporters of the measure said it would protect Arizonans’ sale or gifting of personal property regardless of the item.

During a House floor debate last week, Rep. Anthony Kern rejected concerns that the bill could place guns in the wrong hands.

“If I want to sell…any of my personal property, including weapons, I should be able to do that,” Kern said during the floor debate. “It is up to me as a responsible seller to make sure I know who the buyer is. It’s called America and it’s called the Second Amendment.”

Opponents think the legislation’s lack of a requirement to check federal or state databases could allow criminals or abusers to obtain guns. They also criticize the measure for being vague and unclear.

Rep. Randall Friese said he thinks the bill could cause another lawsuit such as previous legal action involving a Tucson ordinance that requires background checks on all gun sales in city-owned or managed property such as its convention center.

“I’m afraid that with this piece of legislation we will yet find ourselves in another position where we have another lawsuit costing the state hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars and will lead us really nowhere,” Friese said.

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