Ariz. state Senate candidate who says he shot mother in self-defense pushes for gun rights

A Republican candidate running for Arizona’s state Senate, who supports gun rights, has drawn renewed scrutiny over his story of how he killed his mother in self-defense decades ago.

Bobby Wilson, who is running to represent a southern district in the state, appeared before a crowd at a gun control forum earlier this month to speak about gun rights, according to the Arizona Republic. He told the crowd about his own experience of shooting and killing an attacker in self-defense, and how that reaffirmed his belief in the importance of a “good guy with a gun.”


“You can pass all the laws you want to in this world, and when you’ve got somebody out there that wants to harm somebody, they’re going to do it if you don’t stop them,” Wilson told the crowd, according to the Republic. The Tucson event was put on by Moms Demand Action, a movement against gun violence in the U.S.

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His words reportedly drew criticism from some in the audience, and led to renewed media scrutiny over the details of his story. In fact, the alleged attacker Wilson killed was his own mother, though he did not mention that during his remarks at the event earlier this month, according to The Associated Press.

Wilson was referring to the 1963 shooting of his mother, Lavonne Wilson, at their family’s farmhouse, for which Wilson was charged but the case was later dropped. He had told police that his mother had attempted to shoot him. 

According to Wilson, he shot his mother after gasoline spilled on the floor and ignited, blowing him out of a window and causing a concussion.

He was initially charged with murdering both his mother and his sister, but prosecutors did not go forward with the case after he recanted an initial confession, claiming amnesia. Wilson later wrote a book about the incident, “Bobby’s Trials.” 

“That’s the only time I’ve ever been in that situation, and I hope it’s the last time,” he told the AP.

State Rep. Daniel Hernandez (D) told the AP that Wilson also brought up the 2011 shooting of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), saying that she should have had security present at the event.

“I’ve never ever heard someone be so aggressive in that view, and also to drag Gabby into it, I thought, was so distasteful and so disgusting,” he told the AP.

Hernandez was an intern for Giffords at the time of the shooting and was credited with saving her life, according to the Arizona Republic. 

In the interview with the AP, Wilson maintained that he’s not trying to hide the details of the incident. 

“I’m lucky to be alive, twice over,” Wilson told the news agency.

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