AZ bill lifts gun safety rules for foster parents

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Rep. Kevin Payne says foster parents should no longer be forced to lock up their guns for safety reasons. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Rep. Kevin Payne says foster parents should no longer be forced to lock up their guns for safety reasons. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Deborah Parker with gun safety group Moms Demand Action. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Deborah Parker with gun safety group Moms Demand Action. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3TV/CBS 5) -

With child gun deaths on the rise in Arizona, one state lawmaker says foster parents should no longer be forced to lock up their guns for safety reasons.

The Arizona Department of Child Safety requires foster parents to store their firearms in a safety locker so children can't get access. 

HB 2535 kills that requirement with the bill’s sponsor saying it's unfair to impose stricter gun regulation on these parents.

"The state is already protecting these children just by putting them in these foster homes. They're already evaluating those homes and those parents to make sure they are good and decent people. Once they've done that, the safety of the gun shouldn't be paramount," said Rep. Kevin Payne, a Republican from Glendale. 

Payne's bill comes as a recent state report shows gun deaths involving children increased 29 percent from 2015 to 2016. 
 
The numbers were part of a report released in November by the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

According to the 2017 Arizona Child Fatality Review Program, the top contributing factors in these deaths were substance abuse and guns that were not locked away. 

By lifting tighter safety regulations, gun safety advocates say the legislation puts foster children at risk. 

"These are children the state has taken custody of. They've promised they will take care of them, nurture them, grow them and keep them safe, and doing that means keeping them locked up and away from children," said Deborah Parker, who was with the gun safety group Moms Demand Action.

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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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