Arizona students, Democratic lawmakers push for gun control bills
PHOENIX — Several student activists joined Democratic lawmakers at the Arizona State Capitol on Monday to push for stalled bills they said would help curb gun violence.
“I’m here because I want my life to matter,” Jordan Harb, a junior at Mountain View High School in Mesa. “I don’t want to fear being killed in school, having my classmates shoot themselves and not being safe. It’s not OK.”
Harb pointed to four gun control bills sponsored by Democrats that are stalled because they haven’t received committee hearings. One of those bills would mandate universal background checks for all gun purchases and another bill would ban bump stocks. He said is frustrated by the lack of action by legislature on these bills.
“We will see you at the polls if this continues to happen,” he said, referring to the inaction by the legislature. “I may not be able to vote in these midterms, but hundreds and thousands of students are registering to vote.”
Harb was helping organize the “March for Our Lives” student rally in Phoenix on March 24.
He was also helping plan a day of action on Wednesday at the State Capitol to mark one month since the high school shooting in Florida that left 17 people dead. Students will be there to speak with lawmakers.
“Whether they want to or not, we will be there and we will make sure that they speak with us,” he said.
State Rep. Charlene Fernandez, whose the House Minority Whip, said she and other Democrats have been pushing for the four stalled bills but have been “met with resistance day after day” by the Republican-led legislature.
Fernandez said she encourages Arizona residents to call their elected lawmakers and tell them to act on these stalled bills.
She added public schools should be a “safe zone” for children and noted her grandchildren attend public schools.
“I want to know every day that they are safe,” Fernandez said.