By Debra Utacia Krol
State Representative Albert Hale, D-Window Rock, noted that “The honoring of any gun is offensive to Native Americans.” Hale, who served as Navajo Nation president before being elected to the Arizona Legislature, added, “Guns were used to kill Native Americans and take everything that belonged to them. They were used to put Native Americans on reservations.” Hale made at least two impassioned speeches on the House floor before the bill came up for the first of two votes. After the first full House vote nixed the bill with less than the 31-vote majority needed, Representative Steve Montengro, R-Litchfield Park, asked for a revote. The bill passed with a vote of 32-25 and three representatives not voting. Five Republicans voted against the measure in the Arizona House, which is dominated by Republicans.
After hearing Hale’s speech, at least two Republican legislators changed their votes. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix noted in an e-mail that, while she supports the Second Amendment and believes the Arizona Legislature should “pursue legislative policy that strengthens our right to bear arms,” she adds that “Representative Hale’s impassioned plea to his colleagues to not memorialize a weapon that symbolized pain and destruction to his people convinced me that this bill was not in Arizona’s best interests.” McGee also noted that “supporting one weapons maker over another is not the job of the legislature.”
For more on the subject, see Arizona Chooses State Gun.