Local

Mar 5, 2013 7:21 PM by Lorraine Rivera

Groups call for universal background checks

TUCSON - Hundreds of letters asking for stricter gun laws were dropped off at Arizona Senator Jeff Flake's Tucson office Tuesday.

Several local groups including the Tucson Community Committee Against Gun Violence with representatives from national groups such as Mayors Against Illegal Guns were on hand at a rally in front of the north side office.

The groups say universal background checks would make a difference in gun violence. Pam Simon, a former congressional aide who was shot on January 8th said, "so this is an issue that is very personal to me."

Simon hand delivered approximately 300 letters to the senator's office. She said universal backgrounds checks are necessary because guns sold through private sellers do not require background checks. Simon said Flake must vote yes to help fix what she described as a "broken background check system."

Among the speakers at Tuesday's rally were Bill Badger, who helped wrestle shooter Jared Loughner to the ground, and Simon. Badger, who became emotional at times, said, "now it's still going to be a challenge and we're going to need a lot of help from a lot of people."

Michael Desantis from Organizing for Action said, "it's not anything new. It's just closing a really glaring loophole where someone can purchase any weapon that's legal, available, maybe some that aren't, with no background check whatsoever."

But Ken Rineer representing Arizona Gun Owners said, "we like our firearms. Firearms have become ingrained in American history plus firearms are used in self defense two millions times a year whether or not they're actually fired."

Senator Flake is considered a key vote in the senate judiciary committee that will review the legislation Thursday.

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