A Gun Safety Group Just Dropped $5M on the Arizona Elections

person holding sign that says "stop gun violence"

By Jessica Swarner

May 13, 2020

The initiative aims to elect candidates who support gun safety at all levels in Arizona – from the state legislature to the president.

A national advocacy group announced Tuesday it will invest at least $5 million in electing candidates who support gun safety in Arizona. 

Everytown for Gun Safety launched the initiative with the goal of electing “gun-sense candidates” at all levels of government in the state.

These candidates include Democrat Mark Kelly, who is challenging Sen. Martha McSally, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is facing President Donald Trump.

Everytown’s investment is part of a $60 million drive across the nation to promote candidates who support measures like background check requirements and “Red Flag” laws – efforts to prevent dangerous people from being able to obtain and use firearms.

John Feinblatt, Everytown’s president, pointed out during a conference call that the Arizona Senate decided to adjourn last week, and chose not to take up a bill that would prevent domestic abusers from being able to possess guns. 

RELATED: Legislature Shelves Bills That Aim to Keep Guns Out of Domestic Abusers’ Hands

Feinblatt said the bill “couldn’t be more urgent,” considering how calls to domestic violence hotlines have increased since the beginning of pandemic stay-at-home orders. 

He and other activists on the call noted Arizona’s shifting politics and increasing support of gun safety as reasons the group is investing so heavily in its races this year. 

An OH Predictive Insights poll from last fall found that a majority of Arizona voters support tougher gun laws. According to survey results, 54% of respondents said current laws on gun sales and ownership in Arizona are not strict enough, while 37% said they should be kept the same. Less than 5% said current gun laws are too strict.  

“It’s clear Arizonans are fed up with lawmakers who refuse to put public safety first,” Feinblatt said.

Everytown and its related groups have been active in the state in recent weeks.

One of Everytown’s offshoots, Students Demand Action, announced the opening of a virtual field office in Arizona in late April. The group’s goal is to register 4,500 young people in the state to vote.

Everytown for Gun Safety also recently gave 31 Arizona candidates its “Gun Sense” distinction based on voting records and a questionnaire.

RELATED: Everytown For Gun Safety Names 31 Arizona Gun Sense Candidates

“Arizona is competitive at every level of the ballot, and gun safety is a top concern voters across communities,” Charlie Kelly, Everytown’s senior political advisor, said in a press release. “Our model of financial investment and grassroots action delivered a gun sense majority legislature in Virginia, and now we’re deploying it again with our largest-ever electoral investment in the Grand Canyon State.” 

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.



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