Arizona bill would restrict gun sales to licensed dealers

Jan 21, 2015, 2:53 PM | Updated: 2:53 pm

PHOENIX — A group of Arizona Democrats have sponsored a bill that would ban the sale or transfer of a firearm unless the buyer or seller is a licensed dealer.

The proposed legislation would allow a licensed firearms dealer to facilitate the sale of a gun between two private citizens if the dealer conducts a background check on both the buyer and the seller.

“I am a firm believer that law-abiding citizens should be able to own the weapons that they choose,” Arizona Rep. Randall Friese said. “What I am trying to do is put another check in the system to be sure that the person who is getting the weapon isn’t going to misuse it.”

The newly-elected representative is one of several sponsors of HB 2118. Friese was one of the trauma surgeons who cared for the victims of the Tucson shooting that left six people dead and injured several others, including former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Friese said the 2011 shooting inspired him to becoming a politician and shaped his political beliefs regarding firearms. He hopes new legislation, like HB 2118, will help keep guns out of the hands of criminals without infringing on Second Amendment rights.

“My motivation is not to take away or restrict the rights, it is to make the environment safer and to make sure that those people who shouldn’t be able to have a weapon can’t get one as easily,” he said.

One Phoenix-area gun owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he believes the proposed law would be useless because criminals could still find ways to get their hands on a firearm.

“The problem is (legislators) feel that they need to do something and, in the rush to do something, they end up hurting the law-abiding citizen when criminals, by definition, don’t follow laws,” he said.

But Friese said that should not stop the Legislature from trying to stop crime and gun violence so long as the legislation does not infringe upon the Second Amendment.

“Forty percent of gun purchases now are done through unlicensed dealers and criminal know that and this is an avenue for people who shouldn’t be having guns,” he said.

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Arizona bill would restrict gun sales to licensed dealers