I thought Governor Brewer would sign SB 1366. Really I did. It seemed a non-controversial reform that de-conflicted two definitions of what a firearm is under Arizona law, making it clear that air guns are not firearms.
Here is the story from an AZCDL alert:
Don’t be caught with an air rifle!
There are conflicting definitions of a firearm in Arizona statutes. One, ARS 13-105, uses the “action of an expanding gas” to define a firearm. This definition includes air-operated rifles and pistols. Meanwhile, ARS 13-3101 uses the “action of an explosive” to define a firearm.
What makes the conflicting definitions sinister is ARS 13-3107 which makes the “unlawful discharge” of a firearm within city limits a class 6 felony. As a result, a backyard plinking session with your child and their Daisy Air Rifle could result in your arrest since either firearms definition could be applied.
SB 1366 would have updated the firearms definition in ARS 13-3101 to a weapon that uses “rapidly expanding gases created by a burning propellant or burning powder.” Additionally, ARS 13-3107 (unlawful discharge) was changed to explicitly refer to the ARS 13-3101 firearm definition and not the air rifle definition.
When in doubt, obfuscate.
All very logical to any thinking person, but not to Governor Brewer. In her veto letter, she claims that criminals would now be able to take their “weapons” (air rifles?) into public buildings, court houses, jails and polling places. And, she claims, law enforcement officers would be prohibited from even temporarily taking these “weapons” away from someone. Finally, because the words “readily convertible” would be removed from ARS 13-3101, the Governor claims that all a bad guy would need to do is disassemble a firearm to legally carry it anywhere they wished. Her staffers must have missed (or chosen not to see) the “readily converted” language that was added to ARS 13-3102 (weapons misconduct) when doing their research.
Truly bizarre. It’s a sad way for Governor Brewer to leave office after she signed several bills that moved Arizona into first place in weapons law in the United States.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.