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.

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Arizona governor signs bill allowing guns in bars

July 18, 2009

By Jonathan J. Cooper

Associated Press
Published: Monday, July 13, 2009 8:12 p.m. MDT

PHOENIX — Arizonans with concealed weapons permits will be allowed to take a handgun into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol under a bill signed Monday by Gov. Jan Brewer.

The measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, will require bar and restaurant owners who want to ban weapons on the premises to post a no-guns sign next to the business’ liquor license.

Drinking while carrying a weapon would be illegal.

Before a compromise reached late in the Legislature’s regular session, the measure pitted powerful groups representing gun and bar owners against each other.

Opponents have said mixing guns and alcohol produces a dangerous combination that could cause violence. Supporters said people should be able to protect themselves at businesses that serve alcohol. Supporters also said it was risky to leave guns in parked vehicles.

The bill originally only applied to establishments with kitchens, but it was expanded to include bars. Another change was to move the location for posting a no-guns notice, which originally was to have been next to the main entrance. Some bar owners had worried about uncertainty over which entrance would be considered the main entrance.

A lobbyist for the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association, which opposed the original bill, said the amended version created clear, uniform and enforceable rules.

“It’s going to happen one way or another, and this was the best version we’ve seen,” ALBA lobbyist Don Isaacson said after the bill was revised last month.

It’s already legal to carry a gun into a store that sells alcohol for consumption elsewhere.

It would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 to carry a gun into an establishment with a no-guns notice posted.

The law, however, includes a partial legal defense for a person carrying a concealed weapon within an establishment banning guns. It would apply if the sign had fallen down, the person wasn’t an Arizona resident and the notice was first posted less than a month earlier.


The National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Bill

June 8, 2009
 

H.R. 197, introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cliff Stearns’ (R-Fla.) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.), would allow any person with a valid concealed firearm carrying permit or license, issued by a state, to carry a concealed firearm in any state, as follows: In states that issue concealed firearm permits, a state’s laws governing where concealed firearms may be carried would apply within its borders. In states that do not issue carry permits, a federal “bright-line” standard would permit carrying in places other than police stations; courthouses; public polling places; meetings of state, county, or municipal governing bodies; schools; passenger areas of airports; and certain other locations. The bill applies to D.C., Puerto Rico and U.S. territories. It would not create a federal licensing system; it would require the states to recognize each others’ carry permits, just as they recognize drivers’ licenses and carry permits held by armored car guards. Rep. Stearns has introduced such legislation since 1995.

• Today, 48 states have laws permitting concealed carry, in some circumstances. Forty states, accounting for two-thirds of the U.S. population, have RTC laws. Thirty-six have “shall issue” permit laws (including Alaska, which also allows carrying without a permit), three have fairly administered “discretionary issue” permit laws, and Vermont (and Alaska) allow carrying without a permit. (Eight states have restrictive discretionary issue laws.) Most RTC states have adopted their laws in the last decade.

• Citizens with carry permits are more law-abiding than the general public. Only 0.01% of nearly 1.2 million permits issued by Florida have been revoked because of firearm crimes by permit holders. Similarly low percentages of permits have been revoked in Texas, Virginia, and other RTC states that keep such statistics. RTC is widely supported by law enforcement officials and groups.

• States with RTC laws have lower violent crime rates. On average, 22% lower total violent crime, 30% lower murder, 46% lower robbery, and 12% lower aggravated assault, compared to the rest of the country. The seven states with the lowest violent crime rates are RTC states. (Data: FBI.)

• Crime declines in states with RTC laws. Since adopting RTC in 1987, Florida’s total violent crime and murder rates have dropped 32% and 58%, respectively. Texas’ violent crime and murder rates have dropped 20% and 31%, respectively, since its 1996 RTC law. (Data: FBI.)

• The right of self-defense is fundamental, and has been recognized in law for centuries. The Declaration of Independence asserts that “life” is among the unalienable rights of all people. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms for “security.”

• The laws of all states and constitutions of most states recognize the right to use force in self-defense. The Supreme Court has stated that a person “may repel force by force” in self-defense, and is “entitled to stand his ground and meet any attack made upon him with a deadly weapon, in such a way and with such force” as needed to prevent “great bodily injury or death.” (Beard v. U.S., 1895)

• Congress affirmed the right to guns for “protective purposes” in the Gun Control Act (1968) and Firearm Owners’ Protection Act (1986). In 1982, the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on the Constitution described the right to arms as “a right of the individual citizen to privately possess and carry in a peaceful manner firearms and similar arms.”

For more information on H.R. 1074, please click here.

To see if your Representative is a cosponsor of H.R. 1074, please click here.

Again, please contact your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators and urge them to cosponsor and support these measures. For additional information on these bills, please visit www.NRAILA.org.