Arizona House OKs Bill Backing Gun Makers

The measure would penalize firms that refuse to do business with firearms companies.

The Arizona Capitol, Phoenix, April 15, 2020.
The Arizona Capitol, Phoenix, April 15, 2020.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona House voted Wednesday to penalize businesses that refuse to do business with firearms companies by barring them from state contracts.

The proposal that passed with only support from majority Republicans drew strong opposition from the banking industry but backing from gun groups and the firearms industry.

The proposal from GOP Rep. Frank Carroll would require companies signing contracts worth more than $100,000 with the state or local governments to certify they won’t refuse to work with firearms-related companies.

Carroll and firearms industry lobbyists said some banks are refusing to do business with firms involved with the firearms industry. They framed it as an issue of banks preventing people from exercising their Second Amendment rights.

But bankers resisted the bill, calling it government overreach for lawmakers to try to force businesses to deal with other companies against their will. Industry lobbyists who testified against the bill also said lawmakers are politicizing an issue that is not present in Arizona.

The 31-28 party-line vote sends the measure to the Senate for consideration.

The legislation follows the shutdown of social media sites popular with extremists, including Gab and Parler, when their web hosts, banks or payment processors refused to continue doing business.

The Arizona bill stands in contrast to efforts in more liberal states to target gun manufacturers.

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