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Arizona: Constitutional Carry and Preemption Reform Legislation Move On

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today, Senate Bill 1108 passed the Arizona Senate’s third and final reading by a vote of 20 to 10.  The bill will be up for its third and final reading tomorrow in the House.   

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. While it may seem simple for the average male to open carry, we shall not discriminate against women and those who are unable to conventionally carry a firearm.  The intent of this legislation is to give people the greatest possible freedom to choose the best method of carry for them, based on attire, sex, and or physical attributes.    

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 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 SB 1108.

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.

Also today, House Bill 2543 passed its final reading in the house by a vote of 36 to 21 with three votes absent. 

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 contact your State Representative today and urge him or her to support SB 1108To contact your State Representative click here.

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