Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Tea Party legislators prioritize extremist agenda over children’s safety

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Tea Party legislators are prioritizing an extremist agenda over children’s safety.

Hours after two people were killed in a Florida high school shooting and only days after a gunman killed three students at an Ohio school, extremists in the House of Representatives approved HB 2719 which will ease gun restrictions near school campuses.

“This bill will make it easier to bully and intimidate school children,” said House Minority Whip Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson (District 13). “The idea of gang members being allowed to brandish weapons outside of play grounds to intimidate or recruit children is shameful. This legislation endangers our children and puts our educators at risk too.”

Several Republican members, recognizing the potential hazards this legislation poses to children, voted no. However, Tea Party members garnered enough support to pass the bill by a narrow margin of 31 to 28.

Rep. Eric Meyer, D-Paradise Valley (District 11), is a member of the Scottsdale School District Governing Board. He said this bill is a big step in the wrong direction.

“This will undo the protections put in place by the Gun Free School Zones Act. If Tea Party legislators are willing to allow gang members to have weapons outside of schools, how long before they are allowed to bring them into schools?” Meyer said. “The potential ramifications of this bill are horrifying. We should be protecting the students and educators in this state, HB 2719 does the opposite.”

House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14) agreed.

"Once again Tea Party legislators are putting their extremist agenda above what is best for Arizona and they are putting children in harm’s way,” Campbell said. “Arizona citizens need to know about what is happening here and they should hold Tea Party lawmakers accountable for bad legislation that jeopardizes the safety of school kids.”

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