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.


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.

The American Right to Keep and Bear Arms – Modern and Historical Context

February 27, 2009

By Rick Barkett 

For hundreds of years American citizens have enjoyed the right to “keep and bear arms” within the United States of America. The founders of the nation found it necessary to amend the Constitution, allowing for non-military persons to carry weapons capable of self defense, particularly referring to firearms. While there is no disagreement over the existence of the Second Amendment, there is, as with all ambiguous legal writing, a fierce debate over the true meaning of the Constitution’s creators.

A common interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution follows that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” refers strictly to a MILITIA, as opposed to simply an individual. In order to understand this argument fully it is important to recognize the situation of the budding nation during the drafting of the Constitution (and the subsequent Bill of rights). There was a tangible fear of foreign invasion, as the newly formed country was vulnerable in its early stages, as well as a much greater risk of large scale internal strife (several notable ‘rebellions’ took place during America’s infancy). As such, state and local militia’s existed in almost every area of the country, acting more as a police force rather than a military unit. There is no real local ‘militia’ in 21st century America, thus, opponents of gun control argue that there is little ground to stand on when combating gun-control legislature.

Using this “interpretation” or argument against the individual’s privilege to own private firearms does not take into account other factors and opinions of the founding fathers. Using the context of a local militia to argue for gun control, against the second Amendment, is definitely not foolproof. The term ‘militia’ in the context of the Second Amendment referred to most able bodied men ages 18 to mid 40s. The militia was not a standing force; the weapons were both privately owned and stored.  A local militia does not necessarily imply a government recognized organization, rather, a group of well-rounded, peaceful individuals interested in protecting themselves and their families. When taking this interpretation into a modern context, it makes perfect sense to allow individuals the right to weapons for self defense.

Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams both stated their views concerning the right of the individual to own weapons, shedding some light on the ‘correct’ interpretation of the Second Amendment. According to Jefferson “no free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms,” mentioning nothing of a militia. The State of Arizona’s Constitution directly includes provisions for its citizens with “the right of an individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State.”

Another primary threat to personal freedom, that the Second Amendment was created to prevent, is the potential of the central government to become a despotism or dictatorship. A well armed population is much more of a threat than unarmed civilians attempting to defend themselves against a military force. This is an often overlooked aspect of the Second Amendment; however, it remains a critical piece to the foundation of freedom in this country. The Second Amendment gives every citizen a “fighting chance” in the event of hostility, be it from their own country or from robbery, theft or other types of crime.

Strict gun control laws negatively affect honest, law-abiding citizens of the nation, and would do little to deter those with violent intentions. A simple example of this concept exists in Prohibition, a period of time in the early 20th century where alcohol was made illegal within the United States. Most people still got their daily drinking in, the difference was the source. Many hardworking individuals who worked in or owned drinking establishments were unable to make ends meet, smugglers on the other hand made money hand over fist selling alcohol illegally. In the event of strict gun control, those who want a weapon for a shady, violent purpose would have little trouble getting hold of one. If an honest, peaceful citizen wanted one for protection, he or she would not be able to obtain a mode of self defense without breaking federal law.