Arizona House poised to approve anti-background check bill

Arizona legislators in the House cleared the way Monday for a preemptive strike on future universal background check laws proposed by any local ordinance.

Senate Bill 1122, a measure outlawing any future background check mandates for the transfer of private property — including firearms — received approval on the House floor via voice vote Monday. A formal vote on the measure has yet to be scheduled.

The one-page proposal, authored by Sierra Vista resident Jere Fredenburgh, specifically prohibits a city, town or county from requiring “as a condition of a private sale, gift, donation or other transfer of personal property, the owner of the personal property search or facilitate the search of any federal or state databases and shall not require that a third party be involved.”

Fredenburgh told lawmakers during a hearing last month universal background check laws in Washington and Oregon compelled her into action.

“The purpose is to protect all personal property,” she said. “I’m asking the legislature to champion personal property rights. I have to believe everyone in this room wants that choice to be able to dispose of their personal property as they see fit.”

Rep. Randall Friese, D-Tucson, said Monday the bill’s broad language doesn’t disguise its true intent.

“No one is talking about background checks for refrigerator sales, or microwave sales, or dining room furniture sales … or watch sales, or doorway sales, or door jamb sales, or door knob sales, or door key sales,” he said, according KJZZ News.

The measure passed the Senate 16-14 last month despite warning from Democratic lawmakers, including Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who called it a “bad idea.”

“This is over-wrought,” he said during a March 1 session. “This does not allow local cities or counties to do any type of a background check for any exchange of property including cars. This is being decided before the state Supreme Court right now so let’s not rush it. We should not be deciding for a city what’s best for the public safety of its citizens.”

The case Farley referenced pits Tucson against the state over its destruction of seized or surrendered firearms. The policy preempts state law that requires such firearms be sold, though a court decision in favor of Tucson would quash SB 1122, Farley said.

“The city of Tucson is arguing that gun regulations are a matter of local control,” he said. “I think we should wait to see what the court decides before we make any more laws that could be invalidated.”

The Arizona Supreme Court has not yet issued a ruling in the case.