Honoring Olivia Cajero Bedford

As we remember the Honorable Olivia Cajero Bedford and her years of service to Arizona, we want to share this statement from her time in the Arizona Senate.

The other day in this chamber we heard from members who self-righteously touted their so-called “pro-life” bona fides, proudly proclaiming their leadership in protecting innocent lives.

Yet these are the same people who blindly follow the dictates of the gun lobby. They line up like good soldiers to kill any bill that would keep guns out of the hands of those who would use them to harm others and they fight to allow guns on campus, in bars, and keeping bump stocks legal.

Pope Francis, during a speech before Congress in 2015, said, “Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem.”

How true is this statement? Just look at the fact that in 2012 when Catholic bishops in America began a small effort to speak in support of gun safety laws, the National Rifle Association listed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on its “enemies list.”

The gun violence epidemic in America is real. Yesterday’s school shooting in Kentucky that killed two students and injured 17 was our nation’s 11th school shooting of the year. On the 23rd of January. There have hardly even been 11 school days so far this year.

But our NRA loyalists here will say people don’t want measures to curb gun violence, but that’s just another talking point fed to them by their campaign benefactor.

The truth is 93% of gun owners support requiring a background check for all gun sales, and 94% of Republicans support requiring a background check for all gun sales.

If you truly are “pro-life” and represent the people of Arizona then you should support the bills my Democratic colleagues and I have introduced this year to reduce gun violence:

  • SB 1224, which would allow courts to seize weapons from domestic violence offenders,
  • SB 1347, which would allow immediate family members or police to petition a judge to prohibit someone with mental health issues from possessing a gun,
  • SB 1348, to ban the sale of “bump stocks,” which were used to massacre 58 people and injure over 600 more in Las Vegas, numerous victims who will never walk again.
  • and SCR 1015, to finally close the gun show loophole and require background checks for private sales of guns.

The sad truth is these bills won’t even receive a hearing because the “pro-lifers” who control this chamber don’t have the political courage to defy the NRA.

Self-proclaimed “pro-lifers” love to say they will do anything to protect the innocent lives of children. In 2015 alone, nearly 3,000 children were lost to gun violence in America. Are those 3,000 lives not worth saving? Did those 3,000 children not deserve a chance to grow to adulthood? To experience love and pain, joy and sorrow, loss and success, and all that entails living a full life?
Those who piously proclaim themselves to be “pro-life” should honestly contemplate what that means. Apparently “pro-life” does not equal all human life, as demonstrated by their silence on the epidemic of gun violence. The hypocrisy is shameful.

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