State senators approved three new laws designed to expand the rights of gun owners, including one that could allow Arizonans who get federal OK to possess everything from grenades to silencers.
HB2446 spells out if a weapon or device is legal under federal law, it is legal in Arizona. That alarmed Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson.
“We’re not just talking about guns here,” he said.
“We’re talking about bombs, grenades, rockets having a propellant charge of more than four ounces and that is explosive, and incendiary or poison gas,” Farley continued. “So we’re now in favor of rights for poison gas.”
And Farley said the measure also would legalize silencers, automatic weapons and sawed-off shotguns.
But Sen. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said Farley is being overly alarmist.
“This bill simply says if it’s possessed, manufactured or transported in accordance with federal law, then it is not a prohibited weapon” in Arizona, he said. “We’re simply saying if the federal government makes it legal, then we don’t make it illegal here, assuming the person complies with all the requirements federal law has for these devices.”
And Kavanagh said he finds himself in the funny position of trusting the federal government — and the Obama administration — more than his Democratic colleague.
“I doubt that President Obama is giving mustard gas, atomic weapons and a host of other weapons that Sen. Farley said will be proliferated if we pass this bill,” he said.
Lawmakers also gave preliminary approval to HB2524. It would require Arizona to enter into agreements with other states, with each precluded from enacting any news laws on background checks beyond what already is required in federal law.
The measure is aimed at undermining a possible initiative that would eliminate a provision of Arizona law that says background checks are not required for person-to-person sales. That has been interpreted to include individuals who sell weapons at gun shows.
As crafted, the provision would override the constitutional right of voters to propose their own laws on the subject.
The Senate also gave its OK to legislation that says laws banning guns on campuses of public schools, community colleges and universities does not apply to the public streets and sidewalks going through or adjacent to those campuses.
“They’re not on school property,” Kavanagh said. But Farley said he was particularly alarmed HB2338 would allow people with guns to come directly up to the edge of public school playgrounds.
“I have not met a chain link fence that can stop a bullet,” he said.
All three measures, which already have been approved by the House, need final Senate votes before going to the governor.