Flagstaff Officials, Ducey Ask For Tighter Controls Of Gun Sales, Mental Health Money

The gun forum took place Wednesday after nearly the entire student body, as well as teachers and administrators, walked out of Flagstaff Arts and Leadership Academy to honor the Parkland, Florida, shooting victims and call for stronger gun control. (Photo by Chris McCrory/Cronkite News)

By Chris McCrory

FLAGSTAFF 一 More than 100 residents, city officials and state legislative candidates packed into a lecture hall at Northern Arizona University this week to propose gun buyback programs, expanded gun registration requirements and the end of assault weapon sales in Arizona.

The forum was conducted hours after Flagstaff high school students, along with thousands of others across the country, joined in National Walkout Day to honor the 17 victims of the Feb. 14 Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Most on the forum panel called for stricter gun control.

Democratic Arizona House candidate Felicia French wondered why any gun owner would have an issue with registering firearms so law enforcement officials could better track who has access to guns.

Flagstaff Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan, at a gun violence forum at Northern Arizona University, suggests local stores stop carrying assault weapons, which she says will help keep them away from criminals. (Photo by Chris McCrory/Cronkite News)

“What is it going to hurt to have your gun registered? They’re not taking it away,” said French, who is vying for the Flagstaff district now held by Republicans. “We’re all talking about being responsible, rugged individualists here, and that’s part of it.”

Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans called for the abolishment of a law that prevents cities with gun buyback programs from destroying the weapons. Any buyback program in Arizona must resell the guns or face state sanctions.

“It’s amazing that we have a state that screams about state’s rights against the federal government, but it’s constantly interfering with the local rights of the local government,” she said. “None of us have enough money in our coffers to take a lawsuit, and they did that deliberately.”

Vice Mayor Jamie Whelan said she would ask Flagstaff stores to voluntarily stop selling assault weapons, which have been used in several recent mass murders.

“If we can’t change things at the national level, what about at the local level?” she asked.

But many on the panel said the most effective way to curb gun violence in schools was more education funding.

While more school resource officers or armed teachers on campus may make people feel safer, NAU education professor Whitney Tapia said the more practical solution is “properly funding our public schools, so we can take care of our students.”

That will lead to more manageable class sizes and more money for counselors and mental-health services to help point to troubled students.

“There are warning signs from early on,” she said.

Gov. Doug Ducey, in a series of tweets Thursday, outlined a different set of solutions, including tighter scrutiny of firearms purchases and a larger law enforcement presence on campuses.

But he acknowledged the lack of mental-health resources at schools, vowing to address that shortfall in his legislative proposals.

“In the overwhelming majority of the deadliest mass shootings in the last 20 years, the shooter exhibited obvious signs of being a threat,” Ducey tweeted. “Why not have laws and a process to restrict these individuals from possessing or obtaining guns?”

He tweeted that his office was working to develop a bipartisan bill to address the issue.

But the governor could face an uphill battle against the Republican-led Arizona Legislature, which effectively shut down any gun control discussion last month after House Democrats failed to force a vote on a bill to ban bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic rifles to fire almost like a machine gun.


  1. end of assault weapon sales in Arizona.

    Come on Cronkite, what a BS statement. Assault weapons are not sold to the public. It takes forms and forms and forms and attorneys, etc. to buy an assault weapon. The writer is so stupid its pathetic and so are most of the people in this picture. The rifle in question is not an assault weapon which has the capability to fire in a fully automatic mode. The “look alike” rifles that are sold are semi-automatic and fire just like a semi automatic hand gun. You pull the trigger and you fire one round. Period. Simply because a rifle looks like an AR15 doesn’t mean that it is. Bet that 98% of the people don’t know what the AR means and yet they talk like they are experts. How utterly dishonest articles like this one are printed are beyond me. Also Gov. Douche, didn’t the state sue the COT for enforcing stricter gun laws and not selling confiscated guns? Thought so and now Douche wants to allow a different gun law for Flag? WTF? Good job Doug, you are a one term governor also. Bought and paid for by the cronies and now the liberals. Do you have a backbone? Thought not.

  2. guess these anti everything folks just dont get it do they? Why not registration the one idiot politco wanna be says, well I guess you have never watched the movie RED DAWN have ya? A bit over on the melodramatic, but that is one reason that the government is not going to get that. Yes its a 2d amendment type of movie but it could be just as real at anytime. Just look at the ‘neighbors’ to the south. Overrun with cartels and crime yet the average individual is PROHIBITED from owning any type of weapon, for self defense, or other wants. Is that your idea of answering your own question. The democraps/libs just love taking property and denying ownership of anything from anyone but themselves it seems. I guess they want az to be like its neighbor to the west, northern mexico but the rest of the state does not. No wonder the phoenix area is known as EAST LA!

  3. Why would anyone object to registering their firearms with the police? Because it makes for a handy list for WHEN they want to come and confiscate them. And we KNOW from past statements that this is what the goal is.

  4. The vice mayor wants stores to quit selling “assault weapons” since they have been used in several recent mass shootings! Well maybe governments should quit designating gun free zones since they have been “used” in several recent mass shootings!

  5. Let’s start with the foolish notion that banning so-called ‘assault’ weapons (which they aren’t; they merely look like their military counter-parts). It has already been tried. The assault weapons ban of 1994 was a 10-year ban on firearms that “looked like” the AR-15.
    1. That is already illegal on its face. You can’t ban something because it “looks” like something else. The legal term is, “void for vagueness”.
    2. In 1994 they came up with the federal assault weapons ban. After 10 years they let it sunset because after exhaustive studies by the FBI, ATF, justice department, it was shown to be a failure. No impact.
    Now on to the merits of gun ‘buybacks’ (as though the city or state ever owned them to begin with).
    Around 1994 the City of Tucson and Pima County Board of Supervisors concocted such a buyback.
    They used taxpayer money to fund the scam – Even lied about where the money for the buyback was going.
    They offered to give you a $50. voucher to use at the ElCon Mall in exchange for turning in your ‘firearm’ – no questions asked and a guarantee that no police officers would be present.
    Let’s look at that for a moment… Let’s assume I murdered someone and that firearm was the only piece of evidence to tie me to the murder. You have now told me that, not only will you destroy that piece of evidence (which is illegal under state law), but you will even give me a $50. voucher to spend at the mall. Doesn’t get any better than that.
    I saw many of the firearms turned in. They included parts of firearms, i.e. rifle stocks with no action, pistols that had a nail driven in them to hold the trigger in place and Raven .25 semi-automatic pistols, which are probably more dangerous if you throw them and possibly hit someone in the head with than if you shoot them. You can buy one of them, new for about $50.00.
    They took in approximately 600 firearms, or parts of firearms and spent approximately $25,000.00 of taxpayer money on a publicity stunt that saved no lives – merely made some folks feel they had done something to “get guns off the streets”. Then there were the others who were turning in rifle stocks and parts of firearms to get the voucher and were laughing their butts off.
    Even the Pima County Sheriffs Department spokesperson admitted that about 30% of them were inoperable. If you want to do the math on that, it means approximately $8,325. was spent on firearms that didn’t even work. How could they be a threat to anyone but the person trying to shoot them? I’m thinking the $8,325. could have been better spent on things that would actually benefit taxpayers.
    Of course the head of the county attorney’s civil division lied numerous times about where the taxpayer money was going. I have proof of that. Didn’t matter; they got away with it.
    Naturally, the crack editorial board at the Arizona Daily Star had their minds made up and would not be dissuaded by facts. They wrote an editorial, Legal Shootout Over Nothing, in which they opined, “Isn’t this what the community wants – to get guns, even broken ones, out or circulation?” If you can read that and not crack up laughing, you’re doing better than most of us who have more than two IQ points to rub together.
    Why would the community be stoked about wasting taxpayer money on firearms that don’t even work? The only crime was the buyback, itself!
    The anti-gun crowd won’t be deterred by facts and logic, though. After all, it’s taxpayer money and it makes it look like they care more about saving lives than the rest of us.

  6. The enemy left is going to get all their wishes because we on team freedom don’t fight back viciously and publicly shame these people for their blatant attempts to enslave us all. If we don’t have guns and the government does WE ARE SLAVES. If AR15’s are weapons of war and the cops aren’t a standing army THEN WHY ARE YHEY ALLOWED TO HAVE WEAPONS OF WAR FOR USE ON US?

    This Nazi moron who stated “what do we have to worry about having a gun registry” is either highly ignorant or highly insincere and dishonorable for lying to people in public. Use this,get her contact info and call her out for this BS. Prep yourselves for a future civil war in which the various pig police agencies will “do their jobs” like good Nazis and your rights be damned.

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