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Tucson lawmaker: Limit size of ammunition clips

State Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, speaks at a news conference at which she and advocates called for limiting the size of ammunition clips and other steps aimed at reducing gun violence. (Cronkite News Service Photo by Chloe Brooks)

PHOENIX -- A Democratic state senator called Thursday for Arizona to ban ammunition clips that hold more than 10 rounds, saying they enable rampages like the ones in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., and her hometown of Tucson.

"After Sandy Hook, we said that was enough," Linda Lopez said. "Those 20 children who were killed there, that was the minority compared to the number of children who die every year because of gun violence."

At a news conference, Lopez said she also will propose legislation to require background checks for all gun sales and to repeal a state law requiring law enforcement to sell confiscated guns to licensed dealers.

"This problem is multifaceted, but we do have to start somewhere," she said.

Lopez said she was working on the bills, which have yet to be introduced, with the nonprofit Arizonans for Gun Safety.

That group's founder, Geraldine Hills, urged lawmakers to look beyond issues of gun rights and gun control to better protect citizens.

"This is not and should not be a partisan issue," Hills said.

Lopez's proposal comes two years after Jared Lee Loughner used a 30-round clip to shoot U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others, six of whom died, at a Tucson-area Safeway supermarket. Loughner, who was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in an agreement with prosecutors.

"We can't just blame the mentally ill for this," Lopez said.

Besides restricting the size of ammunition clips, Lopez said Arizona needs to require universal background checks for all gun purchasers. That would expand the requirement to include purchases at gun shows and from unlicensed parties.

Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, the House minority leader, also proposed universal background checks Wednesday when he announced plans for bills to address gun violence.

Lopez also wants to repeal a 2012 law requiring law enforcement agencies to sell or auction weapons used in crimes to licensed gun dealers within one year of seizure.

A call to Mike Phillipsen, a spokesman for the Senate Republican majority, seeking comment on Lopez's plan wasn't returned by late Thursday afternoon.

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