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Two Pro-Gun Bills Making Progress in the Arizona House

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two NRA-backed bills are scheduled for the Committee of the Whole (COW) on Thursday, March 25.  After these bills, better known as constitutional carry (House Bill 2347) and preemption reform (House Bill 2543), leave the COW they will be on the house floor for their third and final reading next week.

Currently under Arizona law it is generally legal to carry a firearm openly as long as you are 18 years of age and not prohibited from possessing a firearm.  However, if the firearm becomes covered, say with a coat, or if you are a woman and prefer to carry your firearm in your purse, you need to possess a concealed carry permit.  The intent of this legislation is to give people the greatest possible freedom to choose the best method of carry for them.    

Back in 1994, when the original Right-to-Carry bill passed, opponents made outrageous claims that there would be shootouts in the streets, and that the murder rate would skyrocket.  Opponents to the original Right-to-Carry bill, such as a large number of law enforcement groups, can now freely admit that none of these radical predictions have come true.

In his book More Guns, Less Crime, John Lott demonstrates statistically that as training requirements are relaxed, more crimes are deterred as more people carry firearms for self-defense.  In Arizona, 16 years after the passage of its original concealed carry law, the murder rate has gone down as the carry rate has gone up.  Today, nearly all law enforcement organizations are neutral on HB 2347.

Under Arizona's current constitution, Article 2, Section 26 clearly states that “The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired…”  The intention here could not be clearer. 

HB 2543, is a preemption reform bill, which would make many much needed improvements to the current preemption statute.  HB 2543 would strengthen Arizona’s preemption statute by removing unnecessarily burdensome restrictions on the transportation and possession of firearms, increasing the protection from local towns and cities passing restrictive ordinances against carry or possession of firearms, and providing future protection for lawful storage of firearms, ammunition and ammunition components.

If not for a strong and uniform state preemption law, the result can be a complex patchwork of restrictions that change from one local jurisdiction to the next.  It is unreasonable to require citizens, whether residents of Arizona or someone visiting Arizona, to memorize a myriad of laws and possibly violate a local ordinance even though it was clear there was no criminal intent.

Please continue to contact your State Representative and urge him or her to support HB 2347 and HB 2543.  Your State Representative’s contact information can be found by clicking here.

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