4 Gun and School Safety Bills to Keep an Eye on in Arizona 

Arizona Rep. Jennifer Longdon speaks at the Moms Demand Action advocacy day at the Arizona Capitol on Jan. 23, 2023. (Photo by Morgan Fischer)

By Morgan Fischer

February 1, 2023

Bills introduced include “Christian’s Law,” a weapons safety storage bill that is named after Christian Petillo, a 15-year-old who was killed at a sleepover in September 2021 due to improper gun storage in the home. 

Over 100 gun reform advocates gathered at the Arizona State Capitol on Jan. 23 to call for lawmakers to pass meaningful gun reform legislation. 

They came together as part of Moms Demand Action’s annual advocacy day, which coincided with the organization’s 10-year anniversary of working to decrease gun violence across the country. 

Celebrating Victories

Several elected officials and gun reform advocates were in attendance, including Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, Tucson shooting survivor Pat Simon, and several members of the state Legislature.  

Among the speakers was Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action. “In the last 10 years, the grassroots gun violence prevention movement has changed the political calculus on gun safety in Arizona,” Watts said. 

Watts also celebrated the failure of the National Rifle Association-sponsored bills during last year’s legislative session, as none of the lobby’s sponsored bills were signed into law. 

“Ninety percent of the time, we stop bad bills like arming teachers and forcing guns onto college campuses and expanding shoot-first laws,” Watts said. 

Educator Sponsors School Safety Bills

Several gun reform and school safety bills have already been introduced this year.

Democratic Rep. Laura Terech of Scottsdale, a survivor of gun violence and former teacher, spoke about her “School Safety Suite” proposal. Terech described it as a series of bills “aimed at reducing school shootings, helping keep our communities safe, (and) helping keep our kids safe at school.”

The proposal has gained bipartisan support and includes actions aimed at better preparing students and families, keeping school safety information secure, and identifying potential threats to schools early on.

The first bill in Terech’s “School Safety Suite” would provide high school students and parents the opportunity to be more involved in emergency response planning and processes. Emergency response planning is used in schools in many different emergency situations—however, they are most notably used in school shooting situations. 

The second bill would exempt school blueprints from public record requests. The third had yet to be introduced by Terech as of Monday but she says it will help officials “identify areas within schools where we might be able to protect against threat.” 

Terech was motivated to introduce these bills due to her experience as a former teacher. 

“I’ve been with kiddos during lockdown drills when they are hiding under their desks and someone is pulling on their door and you don’t know if it’s a shooter or the vice principal,” Terech said. “This is very close to my heart.” 

Longdon, a Longtime Gun Reform Advocate

Rep. Jennifer Longdon, a gun violence survivor, is also working to introduce several gun reform bills this session. 

“Representative Jennifer Longdon has been an incredible champion of gun violence prevention during her time in the Legislature,” Terech said. “Anything from Representative Longdon will go a long way in combating this epidemic.” 

This includes “Christian’s Law,” a weapons safety storage bill that is named after Christian Petillo, a 15-year-old who was killed at a sleepover in September 2021 due to improper gun storage in the home. 

“Guns are now the leading cause of death for children in this country,” Bruce Petillo, Christian’s dad, said. “Moms Demand Action does a great job of advocating for families, advocating for children.” 

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