East Valley teen beaten by brass knuckles says halt on possible weapon ban ‘disheartening’

Feb 28, 2024, 4:35 AM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 9:48 am

PHOENIX — An East Valley teen who was beaten in a 2022 brass knuckles attack and has pushed for a ban on the weapon in Arizona said he was told the Legislature won’t take any action on it this session.

Connor Jarnagan, 17, said Republican Sen. John Kavanagh called his family and alerted them that a bill he intended to introduce didn’t have the necessary support.

Kavanagh told KTAR News 92.3 FM in January he didn’t expect pushback on the bill because “it’s an offensive weapon that thugs use.”

“It had me really almost emotional because this is the thing I’ve been fighting for the last few months and the amount of time, emotion and effort I’ve been putting into this … it’s really disheartening to see that,” Connor Jarnagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Outspoken with Bruce and Gaydos on Tuesday.

Why didn’t the brass knuckles ban bill in Arizona have enough support?

Connor Jarnagan said Kavanagh told him some Republicans were concerned that a ban on the weapon could eventually lead to ban on other weapons, such as knives and guns.

Stephanie Jarnagan, Connor’s mother, disagrees with that notion, saying she was “disappointed and disgusted” with Kavanagh’s reasoning.

“We are a pro-Second Amendment family,” Stephanie Jarnagan said. “We are responsible gun owners. We believe that people should be able to defend themselves.

“But brass knuckles have no other purpose.”

Connor Jarnagan was assaulted while in his vehicle by a group of teenagers outside a Gilbert In-N-Out on Dec. 30, 2022, leaving him bloodied and requiring staples in his head.

Stephanie said the incident with her son rocked her family. The attack was random — none of the suspects knew Connor — and is in line with attacks said to have been carried out by the Gilbert Goons, a group of East Valley teens accused of assaulting others.

Brass knuckles are illegal in 21 states and require a permit in 17 others. Arizona is one of 12 states where they’re legal.

“I am upset,” Connor Jarnagan said. “It was the one piece of good in a situation that was horrible and has impacted so many teens.

“To just have this quashed and not even get to the Senate floor for a full vote is disheartening and leaves me dumbfounded.”

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East Valley teen beaten by brass knuckles says halt on possible weapon ban ‘disheartening’