District 54 candidates debate gun rights, more

The two Republican candidates for House District 54 had their first opportunity to debate each other Friday.

Speaking at a Mesa County Republican Party lunch, Bob Hislop and Ray Scott answered questions ranging from gun rights to illegal immigration.

While the two weren’t too far apart on most issues, they did differ when it came to a new Arizona law allowing residents to carry concealed weapons without the need of a permit.

Hislop said that as a former law enforcement officer, he would be hard-pressed to agree to laws allowing anyone to carry a weapon if it meant mentally ill people could do so. He said gun owners should take classes to ensure they know the proper way to handle one.

Scott said the U.S. Constitution is clear on the subject.

“Carrying a gun is an awesome responsibility and using it is an even more awesome responsibility,” Hislop said.

“I don’t think the Second Amendment says anything about gun classes,” Scott replied.

Alaska and Vermont have similar laws to Arizona’s, but Colorado requires gun owners to obtain a conceal-carry permit. Still, none of the state laws supersedes a federal requirement that gun buyers nationwide undergo criminal history checks before being allowed to purchase weapons.

The two answered a question about whether Colorado should enact another controversial Arizona law, one that requires law enforcement to check the residency status of suspected illegal immigrants.

Both said Colorado already has such a law, albeit a less strict one. They said the problem with Colorado’s law, which requires law enforcement to check that status after an arrest has been made on other charges, is that it isn’t being enforced.

The two also answered questions about the state’s budget, teacher tenure and the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights.

They agreed that spending needs to be further cut, teachers should be held accountable for how well their students perform, and TABOR should be protected at all costs.

The two will debate again at another county GOP lunch next month. There is no Democratic challenger in the race.


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