Entries in Tucson (14)


Santorum Highlights Immigration in Tucson

Jay LaPrete/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Campaigning at a Tea Party rally Wednesday, Rick Santorum zeroed in on immigration in this southern Arizona city as he promised to “secure the southern border” and make illegal immigration a focal point of his presidency.

“You have my pledge that we will secure this border. We will deal with the issue of the drug violence and the cartels, we will work with the Mexican government to make sure that we  … have relationships there that can help strengthen their economy, deal with the national security threats to our country at the border and secure the border so that people in Arizona can live in peace and prosperity just like every other state in the county,” said Santorum.

Unlike his campaign stops Tuesday in Phoenix, where he mentioned immigration only once at one event, Santorum focused on the issue here in Tucson, which is 70 miles from the Mexican border, eliciting cheers from the crowd as he told the story of how his grandfather left his family in Italy to come to the United States legally.

“I share that, that concern that many people have. Well, what are we going to do with all these people in America?” Santorum said to a crowd of about 200 at a Shriner’s Hall. “Well, I look at it from the standpoint of my grandfather. My grandfather came to this country, he came in 1925. He came by  himself. He left his family behind, his young children, his wife, he left them after having served in World War I.  But came to America, sacrificed five years of his life … until he was able to refill the requirements and bring the rest of the family over.”

Santorum said securing the border wasn’t “hostile, this is just who we are.”

There was increased security at the Tucson rally with bag checks and organizers telling an overflow crowd of about 50 people that the candidate would not be shaking hands outside due to security reasons. At the end of the rally, Santorum urged the candidates who spoke before him to “take this district back,” but he did not mention former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Tucson last year.

Neither did he mention the foreclosure crisis rocking this state, and he kept most of his hits on President Obama rather than his rivals, telling an enthusiastic and responsive audience who repeatedly shouted out disparaging comments about Obama, “We see a president who is systematically trying to crush the traditional Judeo-Christian principles in this country.”

Santorum again defended the controversial Satan comments that popped up on the campaign trail Tuesday when audio was released of the former Pennsylvania senator saying Satan was attacking U.S. government and religious institutions. He said Obama was “making the world a much more dangerous place,” and there were “forces of evil” at work in this country and around the world.

“You hear a lot of talk from me, as I mentioned this earlier, about the threats that we have around this world, and we do have serious threats that this president is uniformly making worse,” Santorum said. “He’s making the world a much more dangerous place as he continues to pull America back and allow those who seek to do harm to freedom, those who seek to oppress, yes, evil forces around the world. As Ronald Reagan was courageous enough to go out and speak about the forces of evil, not just around the world by the way but in this country, go read the speech. He went out and identified clearly why, because America stands for something, we stand for goodness we stand for freedom we stand for the dignity of every human person, that is who we are, that is why we’re that shining city on the hill that the rest of the world looks to. … And yet our president refuses to call evil evil, refuses to even name it, refuses to confront it, tries to appease and cajole it in an effort to reduce America’s commitments around the world.”

Santorum called his rivals “Johnny-come-latelys to the conservative cause” and urged the audience to vote for him on Tuesday.

“That’s the decision you have to make here in Arizona,” Santorum said. “Who do you trust? Who’s authentic? Who’s believable? Is it the guy reading from the teleprompter or the guy out here on a high-wire line telling you what’s in his heart, and what’s in his gut?”

“Getting to that peace and prosperity, we need to do two things to turn this country around economically,” Santorum said. “First, we have to get the government off the backs of the American people and American businesses. I’ve put forward a plan that does both, grow this economy by changing the tax code. I just saw today that Gov. Romney announced that he was going to be lowering the tax rates to well, the tax rate I proposed. Welcome to the party, governor. Great to have you along.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tucson Shooting Survivors Urge Congress to Act on Gun Laws

David De Lossy/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors of the Tucson, Ariz., shooting rampage that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, raised their voices to Congress on Tuesday, calling for stricter gun laws, while also offering words of encouragement to the recovering congresswoman.

Patricia Maisch, who wrestled the gun clip from alleged shooter Jared Lee Loughner, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in support of the Fix Gun Checks Act, which would require background checks on anyone who tries to buy a gun, while also tightening rules mandating federal agencies and states to report criminal background activity.

“I am definitely here to remember the names of those we lost, as well as to honor each survivor,” Maisch said. “But my primary mission today is to remind all of you that Tucson is yet another extremely tragic example of what is at stake each and every time a gun falls — or is placed — in the wrong hands.”

Maisch was joined by several others who played a critical role in the moments after Loughner allegedly opened fire in Tucson on Jan. 8.

In addition to the Tucson survivors, more than 50 victims of gun violence from around the country were also present at the Senate Judiciary hearing Tuesday, after a day of lobbying their congressional representatives.

The Tucson survivors had words of encouragement for their recovering congresswoman. Maisch had a message for Giffords, who gave her first interview Monday with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer.

“I know it’s hard. Keep working,” Maisch said following her testimony. “You’re in my prayers.”

While the guns bill had a tremendous showing of support in the audience, there is opposition to the legislation. A research director of the Independence Institute, David Kopel, who testified before the committee, had sharp criticisms for the proposed law, saying that it would ban gun ownership for anyone who’s ever been ordered to receive treatment for any mental problem.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the author of the legislation, denied Kopel’s assertion that the bill would apply broadly to anyone who’s received counseling, saying that the legislation would only deny gun ownership to individuals who were determined to be mentally ill through adjudication.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Utah Governor Makes Gun a State Symbol

Utah (dot) Gov(SALT LAKE CITY) -- Utah has become the first state to officially designate a state firearm.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert recently signed legislation making the Browning M1911 the state’s official gun. The designation honors John Browning, the designer of the semi-automatic pistol. Browning was born in Ogden, Utah in 1855. U.S. armed forces began carrying the gun in 1911.

The M1911 takes its place as a state symbol alongside the Rocky Mountain Elk, the state animal; Indian rice grass, the state grass; and the Spanish sweet onion, the state vegetable.

Arizona is also in pursuit of making a gun its state symbol, as legislation is pending for the Colt single-action to become a designated symbol for that state. However, some people in Arizona are against the move following the recent shooting in which six people were killed and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, (D-Ariz.) was seriously injured.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Pens Op-Ed On Gun Control

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- President Obama says that since the tragic shooting in Tucson, another 2,000 Americans have been lost to gun violence. In an op-ed penned for the Arizona Daily Star, the president lays out where he thinks the discussion on gun laws should go.

“Every single day, America is robbed of more futures. It has awful consequences for our society. And as a society, we have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to it,” Obama writes.

He explains his belief in the Second Amendment but says “common sense” can unite Americans behind meaningful gun reform laws.

“I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas,” Obama explains.

The main idea the president pushes in the op-ed is for a national instant criminal background check system that rewards states that provide the best data.  He also suggests developing an “instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system” for background checks to sellers.

“Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence. But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people,” Obama says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


House Dems Demand Gun Safety Hearings; Timing Inappropriate? 

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of the recent Tucson shootings, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, called Friday on the chairman of the panel to hold hearings on gun safety, but the committee’s top Republican, Lamar Smith, says that the timing is “inappropriate” and could have a “prejudicing” effect on Jared Loughner’s ongoing criminal proceedings.

“We fully recognize and appreciate the sensitivity of the subjects raised by the recent tragedy in Tucson in which our colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and 18 others were wounded or killed, including members of her staff, a Federal judge, and several other citizens,” the letter states. “However, we also believe it is not only possible, but imperative that Congress review the relevant issues in a civil and objective matter.”

Among the issues the group would like to review in the hearing are high-capacity ammunition magazines, mental health records of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and illegal drug use in the database.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, responded to the letter in a statement, saying that he believes it would be inappropriate to hold hearings so quickly after the Tucson shooting because it could interfere with Loughner’s prosecution.

“I appreciate the Minority’s interest in the NICS program.  And the Judiciary Committee should, at the appropriate time, undertake a review of the NICS system as a part of our oversight of Justice Department programs.  But to undertake such a review in the context of the tragic shooting in Arizona, as the Minority suggests, could have the unintended effect of prejudicing the ongoing criminal proceedings against Loughner in which his mental status is likely to be a key issue,” Smith states. “Jared Loughner has not been found to be mentally ill.  It is inappropriate for Congress to hold hearings on NICS that presume otherwise while Loughner is facing trial.”

Conyers, however, says that the shooting in Tucson only proves the urgency of the need to hold hearings.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Hero Intern Daniel Hernandez: ‘Call to Action for Public Service’

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' hero intern, Daniel Hernandez, caps a whirlwind of a month with a seat in first lady Michelle Obama's box for honored guests at the State of the Union address Tuesday night.

In town for the big night, Hernandez told ABC News that it's "bittersweet" to be a guest of the first lady. He said he looks forward to meeting the family of Christina Taylor Green, the slain 9-year-old whose parents are also guests of the first lady.

"I'm looking forward to being able to sit down with them and just have a conversation," Hernandez said. "I think it's going to be very cathartic for myself and I'm hoping for them as well, to be able to just talk about the events and also kind of coming together."

Hernandez –- who turned 21 years old Tuesday –- said his experience has strengthened his resolve to pursue a career in public service.

"The only thing that I want to come out of this is really two things; the first, a more positive and unified message which the president put out in Tucson at the memorial...and the other is more public service," he said.

"The events that happened in Tucson on the 8th only reinforced my desire to go into public service. So I think it should be more of a call to action for public service."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


GOP Address: Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake Condemns Tucson Shootings

Photo Courtesy - Office of Congressman Jeff Flake(WASHINGTON) -- In the Republicans’ weekly address, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake denounced last week’s shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and another 13 wounded – including Flake’s Democratic colleague, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“While we may not agree on everything, members of Congress are bound together by a sacred oath to support and defend the constitution,” Flake said, before reiterating House Speaker John Boehner’s point that “an attack on one of us is an attack on all who serve.”

Flake called the shootings a “stark reminder of the senseless brutality of which some are capable.”

“These violent acts have no place in our society,” Flake said, “and we should honor those who stood up in defiance.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Leader Pelosi Visits Rep. Giffords' Congressional Office

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dropped by the congressional office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Tuesday afternoon to meet privately with the Arizona Democrat's staff to comfort them in the wake of Saturday's massacre in Tucson.

Pelosi arrived at the office on the ground level of the Longworth House Office Building just after 2:00 p.m. and stayed for about 19 minutes before departing.

The former Speaker of the House did not address questions regarding her visit as she walked away.

A top aide to Pelosi says “she was there to pay her respects and visit with the staff,” but would not reveal any details of the private moment.

In addition to the attempted murder of Gabrielle Giffords, suspected gunman Jared Loughner is charged with killing Giffords’ director of community outreach Gabe Zimmerman and wounding two members of her congressional staff, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


McCain Cuts Short Trip to Attend Arizona Memorial Service

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain is cutting short a congressional trip to Latin America to return to his home state of Arizona for Wednesday’s memorial service for the victims of last weekend’s Tucson shooting.

McCain and his wife Cindy will both attend the memorial service, according to the senator’s spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan.

McCain left last Friday with Sen. John Barrasso on a week-long trip to Colombia, Brazil, Chile, Panama and Mexico, but now McCain will head home early to attend the service at the University of Arizona.

Hours after Saturday’s attack that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, fighting for her life, killed six including federal judge John Roll, and left over a dozen others injured, McCain issued a scathing statement calling the attacker “a disgrace to Arizona, this country, and the human race.”

The service is set to take place at 6 p.m. local time. The White House announced Monday night that President Obama will attend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tucson Shooting Puts Arizona's Gun Culture in Spotlight

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the aftermath of Saturday's Tucson shooting that has left six dead and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords clinging to life, many are looking at who and what is to blame in the world of Arizona's politics and gun control. From Arizona's permissive gun laws to the toxic, us-versus-them environment that has permeated U.S. political discourse, political figures, pundits and the police have begun to point fingers.

Arizona's gun laws are among the nation's least restrictive, where guns are allowed in public spaces and buildings and concealed weapons can be carried without a permit by those qualified to own a gun.

While the Tucson shooting brings the issue of gun violence back to the forefront of the gun control debate, national polls provide an interesting perspective. Seven in 10 Americans in a recent Gallup poll opposed banning handgun ownership -- a position that's grown in recent years according to ABC News' pollster Gary Langer of Langer Research Associates.

Americans overwhelmingly see gun ownership as a constitutional right, and express doubt that the availability of guns is the primary cause of gun violence.

In an October Gallup poll, 44 percent of Americans favored stricter gun laws -- tying the low and down from 78 percent from when the question was first posed in 1990.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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