Justices Extend Gun Owner Rights Nationwide

June 28, 2010

By MARK SHERMAN The Associated Press

Monday, June 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.

In doing so, the justices, by a narrow 5-4 margin, signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and the four liberals, opposed.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.

Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.

Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local, as well as federal, laws.


Justices extend gun owner rights nationwide

June 28, 2010

By MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press
Monday, June 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.
In doing so, the justices, by a narrow 5-4 margin, signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and the four liberals, opposed.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.

Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.

Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court already has said that most of the guarantees in the Bill of Rights serve as a check on state and local, as well as federal, laws.


Justices extend gun owner rights nationwide

June 28, 2010

By MARK SHERMAN
The Associated Press

Monday, June 28, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution’s “right to keep and bear arms” applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.
In doing so, the justices, by a narrow 5-4 margin, signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right “applies equally to the federal government and the states.”

The court was split along familiar ideological lines, with five conservative-moderate justices in favor of gun rights and the four liberals, opposed.

Two years ago, the court declared that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess guns, at least for purposes of self-defense in the home.

That ruling applied only to federal laws. It struck down a ban on handguns and a trigger lock requirement for other guns in the District of Columbia, a federal city with a unique legal standing. At the same time, the court was careful not to cast doubt on other regulations of firearms here.

Gun rights proponents almost immediately filed a federal lawsuit challenging gun control laws in Chicago and its suburb of Oak Park, Ill, where handguns have been banned for nearly 30 years. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence says those laws appear to be the last two remaining outright bans.

Lower federal courts upheld the two laws, noting that judges on those benches were bound by Supreme Court precedent and that it would be up to the high court justices to ultimately rule on the true reach of the Second Amendment.

The Supreme Court already has said that most of the guarantees in the


Arizona Legalizes Concealed Carry without a Permit

May 2, 2010

Governor Brewer signs legislation into law

By David Morse
Guest Columnist
Published on Sunday, May 2, 2010 9:16 AM MST

Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1108, a bill that decriminalizes the carrying of concealed weapons in the state of Arizona, on April 16. This bill will become law 90 days after the Legislature closes.

Arizona will become the third state, following Vermont and Alaska, allowing concealed carry without a permit. Arizona will be the first state with a large urban population to enact such legislation.

What does this mean? In short, any person 21 years of age or older legally qualified to own a firearm may carry a firearm in concealment, where not restricted, without fear of arrest or prosecution. The current system for issue of concealed weapons permits will remain in place. Persons wishing to join the more than 154,000 Arizonans who already have concealed weapons permits will have that option.

Is this a good thing? In a free society can there be too much freedom? I predict many people will drop pistols in their pockets and tuck revolvers into their waistbands “because they can.” After a month or so, when the novelty is gone and the added weight and bother of carrying a chunk of iron sets in, many of those guns will go back into drawers and safes.

Allow me to offer one bit of advice. Guns are deadly weapons. Carrying a deadly weapon incurs many risks and imposes many responsibilities. This is not something to be done lightly without thought or consideration. Carry responsibly!

Many restrictions will still exist. One cannot carry weapons on private property (or any property for that matter) posted “No Guns Allowed,” on national monuments, Indian reservations, school grounds, military reservations and other places.

Be aware that the law requires any person carrying a concealed weapon to inform a police officer about the weapon if asked. Also, the weapon must be surrendered to a police officer, for temporary holding, upon request.

And just because no law forbids carrying a concealed weapon, that does not mean there are no laws against improper use or display of firearms. I foresee a rash of “misconduct with firearms” or “endangerment with firearms” arrests (both class-6 felonies) in certain parts of the state not known as gun-friendly.

Obtaining an Arizona concealed weapons permit is still a good idea. Reciprocity is a big factor. At this time, 29 states will honor your Arizona CCW — similar to their recognition of your Arizona driver’s license. Without a permit, your “right to carry” ends at the Arizona state line.

Last year, Arizona allowed permit holders to carry their concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that served alcohol, provided the establishment had not posted a notice they would not allow carry on their premises and the person consumed no alcohol. Those without a permit can be issued citations and their firearms confiscated if they carry weapons into an establishment serving alcohol, whether the premises are posted or not.

People with a valid Arizona CCW may purchase a firearm from a federally licensed dealer without being subjected to a federal background check at the time of purchase. The FFL dealer notes the CCW number on the 4473 form in lieu of making a National Instant Check System call, and the buyer takes the gun home with him.

About one out of five calls to NICS results in a “delay” status for the purchase. The buyer cannot take the gun with him at that time. A delay means NICS needs time to check something found in its initial computer-based background check. Maybe there are several “John Smiths” with criminal backgrounds, or the buyer has an arrest from 15 years back and the fact no charges were filed is not noted; maybe a restraining order in another state was issued to a “John Smith.”

There can be dozens of reasons. Many have obtained CCWs simply because their names are common, and they get tired of delays every time they try to purchase a firearm. Also, there are no federal computer-based records of the purchase.

And last but not least: training. There is no such thing as too much training. The eight hours spent in the AZ CCW course is but a touch on the myriad and complex tactical, legal and moral issues inherent to carrying a deadly weapon.

Having the permit carries one more advantage: respect. Members of law enforcement recognize that those who have obtained a permit to carry are honest citizens who have made an effort to educate themselves about firearms and related laws.

When an officer or deputy runs your name in a routine traffic stop, the fact that you have been issued a CCW permit is displayed on the patrol car’s computer screen. Most cops will be much more cordial and relaxed with a person they know has a CCW because they know he is not a felon and is possibly honest by nature. How many criminals spend time going to classes and getting permits?

The cost of an AZ CCW permit (valid for five years) is $60. The reciprocity, avoidance of NICS delays, training and respect that come with a CCW permit are priceless.


Arizona to allow concealed weapons without permit

April 17, 2010

by Alia Beard Rau – Apr. 16, 2010 03:46 PM
The Arizona Republic

Starting later this summer, U.S. citizens 21 and older can begin carrying a concealed firearm without a permit in Arizona.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1108 into law Friday afternoon. It eliminates the requirement for a concealed-carry weapons permit, but does require gun owners to accurately answer if an officer asks them if they are carrying weapon concealed. It also allows officers to temporarily confiscate a weapon while they are talking to an individual, including during a traffic stop.

“I believe strongly in the individual rights and responsibilities of a free society, and as governor I have pledged a solemn and important oath to protect and defend the Constitution,” Brewer said in a news release. “I believe this legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well.”

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for this session, which could happen in the next couple of weeks.

Arizona joins Vermont and Alaska in not requiring such permits.

“If you want to carry concealed, and you have no criminal history, you are a good guy, you can do it,” bill sponsor Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, has said of his bill. “It’s a freedom that poses no threat to the public.”

National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said the new state law would not violate any current federal requirements.

“There is no federal requirement for a permit or lack thereof,” Dogali said.

The federal government oversees the background-check program required to purchase a weapon, which will still be required in Arizona in most cases.

Brewer last week did sign a separate law that exempts guns made and kept in Arizona from federal regulation, including background checks.

Arizona had 154,279 active permits as of April 4. Permit holders are spread across all ages, races and counties, but White males older than 30 in Maricopa and Pima counties hold the majority, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety data.

The permits generated $1.8 million in revenue last fiscal year, according to DPS. The money is used to help cover costs for enforcing laws related to the Highway Patrol, operating the concealed-carry weapon-licensing program and impounding vehicles.

Arizona’s permit process will remain in place, and many gun owners may still choose to get a permit. Permits would still be needed in order to carry a weapon into a restaurant or bar that serves alcohol. They would also be needed if an Arizonan wants to carry his or her gun concealed in most other states.

For those who do choose to get a permit, the education requirements do change under the new law. Classes are no longer required to be a set number of hours or include any hands-on use of the weapon. Those who don’t get a permit would not be required to get any training or education.

Retired Mesa police officer Dan Furbee runs a business teaching permit and other gun safety classes. He said if most people choose not to get a permit, it will put several hundred Arizona firearms instructors out of business.

“It’s going to hurt,” he said.

But he said what really concerns him is that the new law will allow people who have had no education about Arizona’s laws and no training on the shooting range to carry a concealed gun. The eight-hour class currently required to get a permit includes information on state law and gun safety, as well as requires students to be able to hit a target 14 out of 20 times. Furbee said his class at Mesa-based Ultimate Accessories costs $79, plus $60 for the five-year permit.

“I fully agree that we have a right to keep and bear arms,” Furbee said. “But if you are not responsible enough to take a class and learn the laws, you are worse than part of the problem.”

He said it’s not uncommon for students to walk into his classroom and pull a new gun out of a box with no idea how to hold it and no understanding of the laws surrounding it.

“If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you should have some kind of training and show that you are at least competent to know how the gun works and be able to hit a target,” he said. “You owe the people around you a measure of responsibility.”

This new law is the latest of several that have passed over the past year since Brewer took over the office from former Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat.

Napolitano 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 Brewer became governor.

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.


Hooray For Starbucks And Gun Rights

March 4, 2010

March 02, 2010

By Chuck Baldwin

The major news media was replete with reports over the weekend that the coffee company, Starbucks, “has no problem with customers packing heat while placing their orders.”

“The coffee giant says it won’t take issue with gun owners who take advantage of ‘open carry’ laws and bring firearms into their restaurant.” (Source: NBC News)

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure why this is even considered “newsworthy.” Perhaps because Starbucks is a Seattle-based company that caters to the “yuppie” crowd? Maybe because the anti-gun national news media is shocked and chagrined at Starbucks’ statement? Who knows? That Starbucks would not want to alienate millions of gun owners (many of whom lawfully carry concealed weapons for personal protection) makes perfectly good sense to me. I’m sure the statement by Starbucks has little to do with guns and everything to do with business. But the fact is, there are tens of thousands of lawfully armed citizens who carry either concealed or open that have been peacefully doing business with thousands of companies around the country for years.

At last glance, 12 states allow unrestricted open carry. Those states are Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, South Dakota, Vermont, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia. Plus, at least 13 other states allow restricted open carry (meaning a permit is required). I know it infuriates gun-grabbing liberals to admit this, but the facts are absolutely undeniable that an armed citizenry is far and away a more civilized and peaceful citizenry.

Founding Father, author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third President Thomas Jefferson rightly said, “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Founding Father, the man called “the father of the U.S. Constitution,” and our 4th President James Madison, agreed with Jefferson. He wrote in Federalist, Number 46, “[The Constitution preserves] the advantage of being armed, which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation . . . [where] the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Founding Father and author of the classic Revolution-era books, “Common Sense” and “Rights of Man,” Thomas Paine concurred. He said, “Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property . . . Horrid mischief would ensue were [the law-abiding] deprived of the use of them.”

And should there be any doubt in the minds of sincere men regarding the advantages and appropriateness of an armed citizenry, the research of John R. Lott, Jr. is more than sufficient to dispel it. Lott is a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was previously the John M. Olin Visiting Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. His book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, is the most authoritative and thoroughly researched volume on the subject. And the title of his book is exactly what his research proves: More guns, less crime!

Lott’s analysis “is based on data for all 3,054 counties in the United States during 18 years from 1977 to 1994.” Lott said carry laws reduce violent crime because “victims who have guns are in a much better position to defend themselves.” DUH!

See a University of Chicago-sponsored interview with Mr. Lott here.

Of course, liberal gun-grabbers love to instill fear into people by saying that citizens carrying guns will result in more incidents of violence. However, the facts just do not substantiate this hysteria. Even our local “mullet wrapper” recently ran a column excoriating the new law that allows concealed carry permit holders to carry his or her sidearm in national parks and forests. The basis of their diatribe? “It’s a risky change that will endanger families, hikers, those who work in these places and the park rangers themselves.”

See the rant here.

Like all gun-grabbers, however, the fearmongering of the editorial board at the Pensacola, Florida, News Journal just does not square with the facts. As Lott observes, “Criminals are deterred by higher penalties. Just as higher arrest and conviction rates deter crime, so does the risk that someone committing a crime will confront someone able to defend him or herself. There is a strong negative relationship between the number of law-abiding citizens with permits and the crime rate–as more people obtain permits there is a greater decline in violent crime rates. For each additional year that a concealed handgun law is in effect the murder rate declines by 3 percent, rape by 2 percent, and robberies by over 2 percent.”

Accordingly, the new law allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry in national parks and forests serves only to make those parks and forests safer.

I well remember being invited to speak in the rural Montana town of Hamilton last year. Somewhere between 600 and 800 people assembled at the local fairgrounds to hear me speak. It was a terrific rally with some of the most patriotic and enthusiastic people I have ever spoken to. (They have invited me back to speak, this time at the University of Montana in Missoula, to a much larger crowd of probably several thousand later this May.)

Along with the vibrancy, energy, and sheer enthusiasm of that audience I observed that scores of people were openly carrying handguns on their hips. (No telling how many people were carrying concealed. Scores more, I’m sure.) Can one imagine a would-be killer trying to open fire in that meeting? Needless to say, not only did I feel at home, I felt absolutely safe–a whole lot safer than I feel when I travel to Washington, D.C. (or any other city or State restricting gun possession), that is for sure!

Obviously, the executives at Starbucks are wiser and more discerning than a majority of newspaper editors and television news anchors. They have seen several other business establishments that have introduced corporate policies prohibiting lawfully armed citizens from entering their establishments–and they’ve seen their profits and customer bases shrink dramatically! They’ve also, no doubt, seen what happened in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, when a madman crashed his vehicle into the restaurant and began shooting patrons at will. The total carnage on that horrific day back in 1991 resulted in 23 people dead and 20 more wounded, and the killer eventually killing himself. Some 80 people were in the restaurant when the shooting occurred, but Texas did not have a concealed carry law at the time, so no one was armed and able to fight back.

At this point, I strongly urge readers to watch the eyewitness testimony of former Texas State Representative Dr. Suzanna Gratia-Hupp–whose parents were killed in the Luby’s Cafeteria rampage–given before the US Congress. See her testimony here.

Therefore, the sadness and chagrin of liberal gun-grabbers notwithstanding, I say, “Hooray for Starbucks!” And I don’t even like their coffee. Maybe I’ll give them another chance.

Dr. Chuck Baldwin is the pastor of Crossroad Baptist Church in Pensacola, Florida. He hosts a weekly radio show. His website is here.


Senate committee green lights looser rules for concealed weapons

February 4, 2010

by Catherine Holland

Posted on February 2, 2010 at 7:02 AM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 2 at 8:30 AM

******

PHOENIX — Arizona adults who want to carry a concealed weapon might not have to undergo a background check or any special training in the future.

The Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday approved a measure that would allow exactly that. The vote was four to three along party lines.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Russell Pearce of Mesa. The Republican says the measure is designed preserve the constitutional right to bear arms. It’s also meant to cut the legal red tape that many say prevents law-abiding people from protecting themselves.

Opponents of the bill are concerned that allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit would lead to more violence.

Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police lobbyist John Thomas says the measure would “take Arizona back into Wild-West carry with no consideration for officer safety.”

Right now it is legal to an adult to carry a gun as long as it’s clearly visible.

Those who want to carry concealed are required not only to have a permit, but to have that permit with them whenever they are carrying. The permit holder must also show the document to law-enforcement officers upon request.

To get that permit, a person must undergo a minimum of eight hours of training by an authorized instructor and submit fingerprints.

The bill on the table, SB1102, would remove that training requirement. It would also remove the mandate that a person carrying a concealed weapon also carry a CCW permit.

According to the Department of Public Safety, processing time for permits is currently running at about 75 days. In addition, because Arizona is a “shall issue” state, permits cannot be denied as long as the applicant meets the statutory requirements.

DPS statistics show that as of Jan. 31, there were nearly 150,000 active permits, more than 1,700 suspended permits and 1,002 revoked permits. More than 78,000 of those permits are held in Maricopa County.

The largest single group of those with concealed-weapons permits is white men between the ages of 60 and 69, followed by white men between the ages of 50 and 59.

The measure passed Monday, SB 1102, will go to the full Senate after a legal review. A House committee is slated to hear a similar bill on Wednesday.

Current statutes
Arizona Revised Statute 13-3112
Arizona Administrative Rules R13-9-101 through R13-9-603


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