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Arizona Senate leader axes bill weakening Shannon’s Law on gunfire

FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2013 file photo Hank Johnson displays his handgun, in Springboro, Ohio. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona Senate President Steve Yarbrough has put a halt to a measure weakening a landmark 2000 law making random or celebratory gunfire a felony.

House Bill 2287 from Republican Rep. Tony Rivero had passed the House and the Senate Government Committee but won’t advance further. Senate spokesman Mike Philipsen confirmed Monday that Yarbrough won’t let it move in the Rules Committee he controls.

Shannon Smith was killed by a stray bullet in her Phoenix backyard in 1999. Her aunt, Edith Smith, pleaded with lawmakers on the Government Committee not to change the law she says has worked well for 17 years.

Rivero said he’s trying to ensure accidental shootings don’t lead to prosecutions. Yarbrough is a fellow Republican but told the Arizona Republic it’s important not to weaken the law.

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