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New report: More firearms, weaker gun laws driving violent crimes in Arizona, but what does this mean for Yuma County?

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Four murders in the desert southwest last week all tied to gun violence.

But are we seeing a new rise in crime or was this just an abnormal week?

Arizona has become one of the most dangerous states for criminal gun violence according to a recent report from the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

More specifically, these include homicide and aggravated assault.

However, the Yuma County Sheriff’s Office says there has not been an increase in shooting disturbances in the county so far this year even with this recent rise in murders.

So far this year the Sheriff’s Office received about 130 phone calls tied to shootings.

But YCSO says it's on track to be about the same as last year at 188 calls. 

“It is uncommon to actually have shooting investigations happen back-to-back like we have seen recently, so it does seem like we are having a lot more shooting disturbances but comparing this year to last year, they are relatively similar," said YCSO Public Affairs Specialist Tania Pavlak.

Bringing to question, what are current gun laws in Arizona?

The state allows anyone who can legally own or possess a firearm, who is 21 years or older, to also carry it concealed with a permit.

Making Arizona one of the most gun-friendly states in the country. 

In fact the new "Center for American Progress Action Fund" report says 84 percent of guns used in Arizona crimes were originally purchased within the state.

Still state lawmaker Sine Kerr, who represents parts of Yuma at the State Capitol, expects Arizona gun laws to stay the same.

“We’re a very pro second amendment state and I anticipate we will stay that way and I know that I will continue to be pro second amendment and protect those second amendment rights,” said Kerr.

No word whether the guns used in these recent shootings were even purchased legally, how they were obtained or if the shooters were even allowed to carry as the suspects tied to all the shootings are still on the run.

But locally YCSO encourages locals if you see something, say something. 

“We do encourage the public to call in any type of suspicious activity or any type of shooting disturbance that you believe you might have heard so we can have a deputy come out and investigate,” said Pavlak.

It is still unknown at this time if last week’s local cases are related.

If you have any information on the ongoing investigations contact YCSO or 78- Crime to remain anonymous. 

Article Topic Follows: Decision 2022
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Dillon Fuhrman

If you have any story ideas, reach out to him at dillon.fuhrman@kecytv.com.

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Samantha Byrd

Samantha Byrd joined the KYMA team as a reporter in February 2022.

You can reach to her with story ideas at sammy.byrd@kecytv.com

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