- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

PHOENIX (AP) - The Latest on Arizona legislation allowing the use of “rat shot” inside city limits (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

The Arizona House has given initial approval to a bill allowing city residents who spot unwanted wildlife in their yard to shoot the animals using a small-caliber gun loaded with tiny pellets known as rat shot or snake shot.

Republican Rep. Jay Lawrence says his proposal is a firearms rights bill that eases a restriction on use of ammunition that can be used to kill snakes or rats. Democrats objected during Tuesday’s debate, saying allowing more firearms use in cities will lead to calls to police and possibly more injuries. They also say there are better ways to deal with pest animals.

House Bill 2022 was backed by gun rights advocates during a House committee hearing early this month. It was opposed by wildlife advocates and average citizens worried about stray gunfire.

12:30 p.m.

City residents in Arizona who spot a rat or snake in their yard will be able to shoot the animals using a small-caliber gun loaded with tiny pellets under a Republican lawmaker’s proposal set for a House debate Tuesday.

A group of scientists says Rep. Jay Lawrence’s proposal endangers people by encouraging firearm use in populated areas and putting people at risk as they approach venomous snakes. Lawrence says it’s about gun rights.

House Bill 2022 was backed by gun rights advocates during a House committee hearing early this month. It was opposed by wildlife advocates and average citizens worried about stray gunfire.

The proposal amends a landmark 2000 law aimed at celebratory gunfire enacted following the 1999 death of a Phoenix teen struck by a stray bullet.

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