I want to take this opportunity to address important concerns appearing in a recent Sonoran News editorial written by a fellow champion of the Second Amendment, Drake Mitchell, regarding Senate Bill 1519, known as the school safety bill. This was legislation written earlier this year by the Governor’s office in consultation with teachers, students, legislators, governors from other states, pro-Second Amendment advocacy groups, law enforcement, school officials, etc. in response to the wave of school shootings across the country.
I agreed to run the bill and put my name on it only under the strict condition that I’d have the ability to change it. Indeed, this did happen shortly after the bill was introduced with a strike-everything committee amendment only possible due to the authority granted to me through committee chair privilege (which I was more than happy to fully exercise that day).
The NRA was in full support of the initial legislation; however, the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AZCDL) was not. When the bill was assigned to my committee, the Governor’s office and I worked directly with the AZCDL. I authored an amendment addressing their concerns which brought them from opposing the bill to being neutral. AZCDL even sent an official newsletter update to their members after the committee hearing with a formal statement that my amendment not only addressed their concerns, but fixed them as well.
After the committee work was finished and the bill moved on for a vote in the full Senate, I further amended the legislation with a complete removal of the entire ex-parte, or citizen STOP order section because I was uncomfortable with some of the language. The amended version of the SB 1519 bill, which included my fixes, passed the Senate with every Republican voting for it and every Democrat voting against it (and I was told by AZCDL that they may have fully supported the bill because of the amendments I authored).
I’d like to remind readers that Arizona is the #1 ranked state for Second Amendment rights much due to the legislation I have written and sponsored over the years, so if this bill was unconstitutional or infringed on any of our God-given rights, there would be no way that every Republican would have voted for it. I might also add that, had the final legislation been unconstitutional in any way, I certainly wouldn’t have supported it. You might ask for proof? One need only look to my strong gun rights record in the Legislature over the course of the past 7+ years, as I have an A+ rating from the NRA, 100 percent voting record with the AZCDL, and am also endorsed by Gun Owners of America (the no-compromise gun rights organization with over 1.5 million members across the country).
At the end of the day, I tremendously appreciate the opportunity to clarify what’s been published in recent days regarding this bill. In the end, although the Senate did it’s due diligence and passed the bill (which included my amendments), it never received a vote in the House before session ended and it eventually expired.
As seen with my A+ ranking with the NRA and my full endorsement from the 1.5 million member, no-compromise Gun Owners of America group, I will always work tirelessly to protect law-abiding gun owners from big government infringement on our Second Amendment rights.
Don’t believe me? Come try prying MY gun from MY cold, dead hands.
State Sen. Steve Smith is from Maricopa. He is a candidate for U.S. Congress in District 1.