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Mass shootings: A history of the Arizona Legislature’s response to past tragedies

A file photo of the Arizona State Capitol building.
A file photo of the Arizona State Capitol building.(Arizona's Family)
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 4:59 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The mass shooting that left 19 elementary school children and two teachers dead this week in Texas predictably reignited calls for new gun legislation across the country. In Congress, Democrats are promising to renew the party’s fight to pass gun control bills, which have historically passed in the House but have been successfully stalled by Republicans in the Senate.

But what, if anything, will the GOP-led Legislature in Arizona do this time? If the past is prologue, it’s a safe bet that nothing will get done in terms of restricting access to high-powered firearms. Here’s a brief history of Arizona’s legislative response to high profile shootings over the past 11 years:

Jan. 8, 2011: Tucson Shooting

Jared Loughner, then 22, goes on a shooting rampage at an event outside a local supermarket, killing six and injuring 13, including then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who suffered a life-threatening head wound.

Arizona response: Roughly three months after the Tucson shooting, the GOP-controlled Legislature passed and then-Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill naming the Colt Single Action Army Revolver the official state firearm. At the time, Arizona became only the second state in the nation to have such a designation.

Dec. 14, 2012: Sandy Hook Elementary

Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza gunned down 26 people inside Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, before killing himself. Twenty of the people Lanza killed were between 6 and 7 years old.

Arizona response: Four months after the slaying, Gov. Jan Brewer signed legislation passed by the Republican-led Legislature that required cities and towns that hold gun buyback events to resell the weapons instead of destroying them, potentially putting more guns back on the streets.

Feb. 14, 2018, Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting

Nineteen-year-old Nikolas Cruz opened fire on students at the high school in Parkland, Florida, killing 17 people and injuring 17 others.

Arizona response: Republican Gov. Doug Ducey proposed “red flag laws” as part of a school safety plan. The proposal would have allowed law enforcement, after getting a court order, to seize weapons from someone suspected of posing a threat to themselves or others. The measure failed under heavy opposition from his own party. Two years later, the governor would flip his position on “red flag laws” saying no such legislation would pass under his administration.