Push is on to ease Arizona's gun laws
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  1. Push is on to ease Arizona's gun laws


    Bob Gill (left) of Mesa, a sales associate at Shooter's World in Phoenix, shows an AR-15 carbine to Laveen residents Karena Estrada, 18, and her father, Alex Estrada. The Legislature is considering bills to ease restrictions on weapons.


    Arizona has always held tightly to its legacy as part of the gun-toting Wild West and a protector of individual rights.

    This year, the state's Republican governor and a conservative Legislature may continue that tradition by giving Arizonans some of the least-restrictive weapons laws in the nation.

    This session, state lawmakers have proposed more than a dozen bills on expanding rights to carry and use guns and knives.

    The proposed laws would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, end requirements that guns manufactured and kept in Arizona be registered, and allow university professors to carry guns on school grounds.

    Although the number of bills on the subject is not unusual, weapons-rights supporters believe this year - with a conservative governor, a Legislature sympathetic to their cause and more freedom to address issues other than the budget - may be their year to lift many limits. It also is an election year, and gun rights have always been a popular campaign platform among conservatives.

    "Arizona is very gun-friendly, and we've made a lot of progress over the past probably 10 to 12 years," weapons-rights lobbyist Todd Rathner said. "But, right now, the Legislature and the governor are favorable to a pro-Second Amendment agenda, so we're trying to accomplish as much as we can."

    Weapons advocates are so optimistic about their chances this year that a knife-rights advocacy group hopes to use Arizona to launch a national effort to give state Legislatures exclusive authority over local governments to regulate knife use.

    The efforts won't be without opposition.

    Sen. Meg Burton Cahill, D-Tempe, said some of the legislative efforts could hurt the state economically.

    "These laws are not going to be seen as friendly to business, friendly to children and good for the economy of Arizona," she said. "This is a very critical time, and we are turning people away from Arizona, making them more fearful of coming to the Wild West."

    Gun-friendly state

    Then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, vetoed at least a dozen weapons bills that crossed her desk during her seven years in office, all of which would have loosened gun restrictions. In 2005, Napolitano rejected a bill that would have allowed patrons to carry loaded guns into bars and restaurants. In 2008, she also vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to have a hidden gun in vehicles without a concealed-carry permit.

    In January 2009, Napolitano resigned to become U.S. Homeland Security secretary and Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer became governor. Lawmakers quickly proposed weapons legislation, and Brewer began signing it.

    During her first year in office, Brewer signed a bill allowing loaded guns in bars and restaurants, as well as another that prohibits property owners from banning guns from parking areas, so long as the weapons are kept locked in vehicles.

    Brewer has been a supporter of Second Amendment rights over her elected career, spokesman Paul Senseman said. He said having her as governor has helped the effort in the state over the past year.

    "I think last year was very productive in terms of extending the protections of the Second Amendment," Senseman said.

    Brewer would not comment on specific legislation before it reached her desk.

    "But it will be important that we continue to be judicious and responsible in enacting good protections for our Second Amendment rights," he said.

    Testing ground

    Rathner said Arizona's current political atmosphere is precisely why Knife Rights Inc. chose this time and this state to propose a bill that would pre-empt local governments from regulating knives.

    Rathner for years represented the National Rifle Association in Arizona, but this year, he is lobbying for the national knife-owner advocacy group. Knife Rights, which Rathner said has a few thousand members nationwide, is based in Gilbert and was started in 2006.

    "Guns have been pre-emptive for a decade, and there's been no problem with it," he said. "Knives are the next step."

    Rathner said about 10 Arizona cities restrict knives, including Phoenix. Phoenix outlaws carrying knives, except for pocketknives. If the bill becomes law, Phoenix's ordinance would no longer be enforceable.

    If successful, Rathner said, the group will push other states to pass the law.

    Several Arizona cities oppose the bill, including Phoenix.

    The Legislature

    The gun measure likely to draw the biggest buzz proposes to no longer require people to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill. He said his bill simply puts into law what Arizona and the nation's founders always intended.

    "If you are a law-abiding citizen, you have a right to carry," Pearce said.

    Whether they support the bills or not, legislators agree on one thing: Many of the bills have a good chance of becoming law.

    Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, said he has owned guns most of his life. He said that changing the concealed-weapon permit law moves Arizona in the wrong direction but that his opinion may not matter.

    "If the Republicans want to push this through, we can't stop it. They run the Legislature, they run the Governor's Office," he said. "I'm not sure the general public wants to go back to the day when people could walk into any saloon with a firearm strapped to their hip, but it seems like the majority party does."

    Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, warned that nothing is a sure thing in the Legislature, particularly this year.

    "The budget is casting such a gloomy cloud over everything that it's hard to get a read," he said.

    However, Republican House Majority Leader Chuck Gray said Second Amendment rights also are a priority.

    "Most of the gun issues are going to be looked at to make sure they are written correctly, but we will be very favorable toward the rights of the people," Gray said.

    The largest hurdle these bills face this year, as in past years, is likely opposition from law-enforcement groups. The Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police opposes Pearce's bill.

    "If enacted, (the bill) will take Arizona back to Wild West carry, with no consideration for officer safety," association lobbyist John Thomas said.

    Only nine states have fewer gun restrictions than Arizona, according to a scorecard released last year by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-restriction advocacy group.

    If some of the legislation is passed, Arizona will likely move lower on the list.

    "You have no laws meant to reduce gun violence and protect the public, and you have an active gun lobby there that wants to do away with even the bare threshold of laws you do have," said Ladd Everitt of the Washington, D.C.-based national Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

    Two bills, one to allow concealed weapons without a permit and the other to exempt guns made and kept in the state from federal regulation, each has more than a dozen legislators backing them. If passed, Arizona would be only the third state in the nation to allow either of the looser restrictions.

    Everitt called the proposal to no longer require a concealed-carry permit "crazy."

    "You would have dangerous individuals and criminals carrying weapons in public," he said.

    Pearce said he thinks the legislation will help make Arizonans safer.

    "When you have restrictive laws, the only people you restrict are the good guys," he said. "I've never been afraid of a good citizen."

    ------------------------------------

    Weapons measures

    Some of the bills aimed at loosening weapons regulations this session:

    Bills: House Bill 2307; Senate Bill 1098.

    Sponsors: Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City; Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa.

    Summary: Exempts any firearm or ammunition manufactured and kept in Arizona from federal regulation, including registration.

    Status: Passed by House Judiciary Committee, moves to Rules Committee; Senate bill was held in Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Bills: House Bill 2347; Senate Bill 1102.

    Sponsors: Rep. Frank Antenori, R-Tucson; Pearce.

    Summary: Would no longer require people to get a concealed-weapon permit. Would make it legal to keep a loaded weapon in a locked vehicle on school grounds and prohibit anybody younger than 21 from carrying a concealed firearm.

    Status: House bill referred to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee and the House Judiciary Committee; Senate bill passed Senate Judiciary Committee, moves to Senate Rules.

    Bills: House Bill 2543; Senate Bill 1168.

    Sponsors: Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista; Pearce.

    Summary: Extends restrictions on local governments from regulating firearms and ammunition to include the purchase, acquisition, storage, licensing or registration of such items. The bill also would prohibit cities and counties from banning firearms in parks.

    Status: House bill referred to House Military Affairs and Public Safety Committee and the House Judiciary Committee; Senate bill referred to Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Bill: Senate Bill 1011.

    Sponsor: Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise.

    Summary: Would allow a faculty member of a state university or community college who has a valid concealed-carry permit to carry a deadly weapon onto school grounds.

    Status: Referred to Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee.

    Bill: Senate Bill 1021.

    Sponsor: Pearce.

    Summary: Would expand instances when a person is justified in using deadly force.

    Status: Passed Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Rules Committee, moves on to a full Senate vote.

    Bill: Senate Bill 1153.

    Sponsor: Sen. Chuck Gray, R-Mesa.

    Summary: Would prohibit local government from imposing any regulation on the possession, carrying, sale, transfer or manufacturing of knives.

    Status: Passed Senate Judiciary Committee, moves on to Senate Rules Committee.

    Bill: House Bill 2406.

    Sponsor: Antenori.

    Summary: Would change the requirements for signs prohibiting the possession of weapons in restaurants and bars to within 20 feet of each register, at every entrance and behind the bar. Anybody who brings in a weapon would not violate the law if the signs weren't properly posted. The law currently requires a sign immediately adjacent to the liquor license.

    Status: Referred to House Commerce Committee and House Judiciary Committee.

    Bill: Senate Bill 1015.

    Sponsor: Harper.

    Summary: Would also change the posting requirements for restaurants and bars but does not require the signs at all three areas (near registers, at entrances and behind the bar) - only at one.

    Status: Referred to the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee.

    Source: Legislation Online Arizona
    NRA Life Member

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  3. #2
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    Thanks for this, RR. I'd like to read these bills more in depth and I'm thinking they are links in the original article, so, can you paste the source so I can have the links? Thanks.

  4. hi gdcleanfun!

    Here is the link : Push is on to ease Arizona's gun laws
    NRA Life Member

  5. #4
    Everitt called the proposal to no longer require a concealed-carry permit "crazy."

    "You would have dangerous individuals and criminals carrying weapons in public," he said.
    This argument always boggles my mind. Do these people really believe this stuff? Do they really believe that criminals really think to themselves, "Ya know, I would carry a gun, but these darned permit laws..." Do they not realize that the people that are currently prohibited from possessing a gun will still be prohibited? Damn, they make my head hurt!
    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson

  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRGlock23 View Post
    hi gdcleanfun!

    Here is the link : Push is on to ease Arizona's gun laws
    Gottit. I was hoping but didn't provide any more links so we could read the whole bill and not just the summaries but that's okay. Thanks for the try.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by utimmer43 View Post
    This argument always boggles my mind. Do these people really believe this stuff? Do they really believe that criminals really think to themselves, "Ya know, I would carry a gun, but these darned permit laws..." Do they not realize that the people that are currently prohibited from possessing a gun will still be prohibited? Damn, they make my head hurt!
    Your kidding me, people prohibited from carrying a gun would consider carrying a gun ANYWAY??? We should get a restraining order against them.

  8. #7

    And there's this one - 13-421...

    ...which was passed into law last year. I'm sure there must have been some discussion about it on here, before I was around.

    Format Document

    And the ABC 15 news story. I searched and found that this was not mentioned on this forum.

    YouTube- Change in AZ Law Affects How Gun Owners Display Weapons - Reveal Firearm Upon Perceived Threat
    Last edited by milkmood; 02-06-2010 at 12:04 PM. Reason: Added news story
    _______________

    I think every state should secede from Washington, DC, then we'll have them surrounded.

  9. #8

    Links to Verbiage

    Here are the links to the bills themselves, documents related to them, some have videos of the floor discussions, status, etc. Enjoy!

    HB2307/SB1098 - Documents For Bill
    HB2347/SB1102 - Documents For Bill
    HB2543/SB1168 - Documents For Bill
    SB1011 - Documents For Bill
    SB1015 - Documents For Bill
    SB1021 (which passed is now ARS 13-421, referenced in my previous post) - Documents For Bill
    SB1153 - Documents For Bill
    HB2406 - Documents For Bill
    _______________

    I think every state should secede from Washington, DC, then we'll have them surrounded.

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by milkmood View Post
    ...which was passed into law last year. I'm sure there must have been some discussion about it on here, before I was around.

    Format Document

    And the ABC 15 news story. I searched and found that this was not mentioned on this forum.

    YouTube- Change in AZ Law Affects How Gun Owners Display Weapons - Reveal Firearm Upon Perceived Threat
    Jonathan Sanchez and Tina Fillian have absolutely no concept of the purpose of carrying a defensive weapon. This law makes so much sense that I believe it's a shame that it must even be specified by law.
    The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first. - Thomas Jefferson

  11. NRA-ILA :: Arizona: Push is on to liberalize gun laws

    Arizona: Push is on to liberalize gun laws

    This year, the state's Republican governor and a conservative Legislature may continue that tradition by giving Arizonans some of the least restrictive weapons laws in the nation. This session, state lawmakers have proposed more than a dozen bills on expanding rights to carry and use guns and knives.

    Read About It: The Arizona Republic

    Posted: 2/3/2010 9:33:16 AM
    NRA Life Member

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