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Tensions high at Arizona Senate during Texas school shooting debate

arizona senate building
The Arizona Senate in Phoenix, Arizona.

Tensions were high on the Arizona Senate floor Wednesday as lawmakers debated the root causes of this week’s shooting at an elementary school in Texas.

Democratic leader Rebecca Rios told fellow legislators that the lives of 19 children and two teachers could have been saved with stricter gun control laws.

“Nineteen lives were stolen because of 50 U.S. senators, an archaic Senate procedural rule and because of state legislatures just like ours that refuse to act to end the gun violence epidemic in this country," Rios said.

Mesa Republican Kelli Townsend said the attack signifies a need for armed guards or armed teachers in schools.

“We need to arm our schools, plain and simple. End of the day, we need armed whoever at our schools. Whether it’s veterans who are volunteering, whether it’s the police, whether it’s arming the teachers," said Townsend.

In Texas, a team of officers and federal agents ultimately shot and killed the gunman.

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Athena Ankrah is an assistant producer for KJZZ's The Show.Ankrah graduated from Arizona State University in 2023 with a bachelor’s in journalism and a second degree in Chicano media and expressive culture.Before accepting a national student Edward R. Murrow award for Radio Feature Reporting in 2023, Ankrah began their broadcasting career in high school, where they hosted a monthly Teen Talk radio show.Originally from Peoria, Arizona, she enjoys singing in her car and tending to their beloved houseplants.