Arizona Governor Vetos Weapons Definition Reform

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.
Gun Watch


  1. avatar B says:

    Just watch, she must have a cabinet position or MDA job already lined up. Progressives pay traitors handsomely, it only costs you your soul.

    1. avatar CZJay says:

      You don’t need one.

  2. avatar Excedrine says:

    Still thinking like a true Statist after all, right up until the end.

  3. avatar Tom W. says:

    Based on her two previous “clarification” vetoes, it appears she is listening to “insider staffers and consultants”, instead of her constituents themselves. She still gets kudos for meeting Obama on the Tarmac in AZ, and sticking her long bony finger in his face over immigration issues.

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:

      She better fire some staffers and advisers, because she is fubar on the national scene when she leaves office.

  4. avatar ST says:

    This is one decision I can’t explain in the bounds of logic.

    Perhaps we’ll find out in 2017 when Brewer materializes as a member of President Hillary’s Cabinet .

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      Best I can tell, she (or perhaps the “consultants” she listens to) actually thinks air rifles can be as dangerous as real “firearms”. Which, if you think about it, may be true in some cases.

      1. avatar nathanredbeard says:

        Yes, if you’re Lewis and Clark with a damn Girandoni! There are very few air rifles that can be considered firearms. The Sam Yang that was reviewed her a while back might be one of them. There needs to be some distinction in the law between a Daisy (and I would include more powerful small bore guns, like the Gamo air rifles) and one that can take down a damn deer.

  5. avatar SouthernPatriot says:

    This, I thought, was a no-brainer. Apparently, I was wrong also. This is sad. I do not have an explanation. Somehow, someway, maybe there can be clarification, or she can say what she will sign to bring clarity.

  6. avatar Nighthawk says:

    Arizonans are caught up in the immigration bullshit and ignoring the second amendment issues looming on the horizon. I fear this state is one liberal scumbag away from losing it’s #1 status for gun rights in the country.

  7. avatar Gunr says:

    How can bill ARS-105 include “air” rifles that are pumped by hand, and do not use a gas cylinder to propel the pellet?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      Don’t those same guns just use the mechanical action to compress air in an internal chamber which is released upon firing? If so it’s still expanding gas under the definition. Hell everything except a rubber band gun would be covered by such a general definition.

      1. avatar Gunr says:

        So then, Air if compressed is considered gas?

        1. avatar Skeptical_Realist says:

          Uncompressed air is a gas, too.

        2. avatar Dennis says:

          Air is a gas, or more correctly a mixture of gases, whether it is compressed or not.

        3. avatar Jacob W says:

          Yeah, Air is a gas. There are 4 states of matter. Solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. Air is the literal definition of gas.

        4. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Not a mixture of gasses, a gas. A mixture of elements.

      2. avatar WayneMHK says:

        Yeah, even a spitball is projected using expanding gas. Makes for many a felonious grade-schooler.

  8. avatar M says:

    650 Shot Repeater? Do you realize how many times you could put your eye out with that thing?!

    1. avatar Jacob W says:

      How many children’s eyes could you put out?!?!

  9. avatar Ralph says:

    It’s time for that old broad to go. Maybe she should join Demanding Grandmas or something.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Grandmas demanding major admiration of intricate guns?

  10. avatar Jake Tallman says:

    So, based on one definition, would automatic airsoft rifles be prohibited, as they would be considered automatic firearms? Even AEGs (automatic electric guns, as opposed to spring or gas guns) operate with the propellent of compressed air (more or less), it’s just achieved via the gearbox. So, serious question, would fully automatic airsoft rifles (which most of them are) be prohibited in AZ?

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      It would appear that the rub here is with the bill prohibiting discharge, not ownership… I think!

      1. avatar Vhyrus says:

        So is every person playing an airsoft game committing a crime?

  11. avatar SAS 2008 says:

    Brewer needs to go. She doesn’t really support the second amendment anymore, no matter what she says.

  12. avatar Another Robert says:

    Just thought of something–does the unchanged definition of “firearm” include paintball guns?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Seems like it. The definition in ARS 13-105 says anything that can “expel a projectile by the action of expanding gases”. Nothing in there that limits what that “projectile” is, so a paintball gun could easily fall under that definition.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        In that case, 2 things : 1. They really need to do something about that. 2. But, in fairness, as long as you are going to exclude real firearms from City Hall, I can see why you would want to exclude air guns and paintball guns too. Heck, I would exclude those two before I would exclude otherwise-lawful CH carry. Maybe they should try something that doesn’t limit what is excluded from city hall directly to the definition of “firearm”–or is that too complicated for the politicos?

  13. avatar Lfshtr says:

    Heck, I have two kinds of air rifles for when the SHTF, great for hunting and great when there isn’t any bullets! They go swiss, very, very quite, a little louder than a arrow.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Yeah, remember the Lewis and Clark expedition carried an air rifle, which dazzled the natives everywhere they trotted it out. I suppose they were concerned about running out of powder. Gadgets have been around a while.

  14. avatar John S. says:

    This woman wants to be Senator, or perhaps Vice President or President, it makes me ill to think that gun owners are thrown under the bus because some stupid politician wants to take a step up the ladder.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      The strange thing is that she has been very pro gun up until recently.

    2. avatar NYC2AZ says:

      Yup. She wants McCain’s spot.

  15. avatar New Continental Army says:

    She’s gonna pull a Bloomberg and turn into a gun grabbing libturd and claim all the pro gun bills she signed she did “under fear” of the NRA.

  16. avatar Dave357 says:

    She signed the bill allowing 19 year olds serving in the military to get concealed carry permits. She signed the bill mandating a sign-off on the NFA items within no more than 60 days. Those would seem more controversial than not calling airguns firearms, so it’s hard to see what criteria she uses for what to sign. Perhaps one could check which bills passed with a veto-proof margin, but this may not be it either. Perhaps it’s who she listens to, but then what anti-gunner would advise her to sign the above two bills that she did sign. The whole thing is strange. I wonder if it’s some sort of revenge on the legislature for not playing ball on enitrely different issues, like the budget or whatever. No way to know.

  17. avatar Paul says:

    Under this, wouldn’t an air driven nail gun get all construction sites raided?

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Damn. Sure would!

  18. avatar htom says:

    The only way this makes sense to me is that her staff was confused about which was the new language and which was the old; she thought she was vetoing the old language; but then the veto message makes no sense.

    “I’m going to stand up against the NRA about SOMETHING!”, maybe.

  19. avatar Hal says:

    Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.

  20. avatar CW3 Crusty says:

    Ralphie almost shot his eye out with one of those things.

  21. avatar gearshiv says:

    As an Arizona native just let me say brewer never has known what she really supports. She is as ditzy and scatter brained as you can get and changes her ding bat mind as the wind blows

  22. avatar Alex says:

    Jeez….all the good she’s done, and because she vetoes this one bill, she’s a progressive traitor?

  23. avatar brandan says:

    Air rifles do not use a rapidly expanding gas, they use a rapid release of gas. Gas is pumped into a chamber and then released. A rapidly expanding gas would be caused by an increase in heat or a chemical reaction of some kind which also increases heat. The heat from the primer is the catalyst for the gun powder. Once heated the different components of the gun powder chemicaly react with each other causing heat and gas expansion which propels the bullet. So air rifles would not be affected by this law…

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Wanna bet your freedom?

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      The gas that is released in an air rifle is compressed, so when the valve goes, it is expanding. The law doesn’t say anything about the mechanism of expansion.

    3. avatar Clay says:

      Wow, Brandan, major misunderstanding of physics here! You are wrong.

  24. avatar alanhinMN says:

    If you live in AZ maybe it it time to swat a few construction crews with air nail guns.

  25. avatar Clay says:

    In all fairness, She didn’t fully understand it and therefore could not in good conscience sign it.
    It’s a shame it worked out that way, but it was the right decision for her at that time. Assuming of course that is why she didn’t sign it.

  26. avatar anthony s. says:

    No fire, no firearm. Pretty much defined in the word. So now what will be the legal definition of a paintball game, a slaughter?! an attempted massacre? nevermind all the laws regulating the transporting, loaning, and selling firearms with the associated paperwork… now applying to bb guns. Idiots. ignorant, arrogant idiots. As one said earlier she does deserve kudos for her meeting Obama on the tarmac with her finger waiving!

  27. avatar Gregory says:

    My @$$ utilizes the action of an expanding gas to propel a projectile, usually around 8AM and 6PM every day. Is my @$$ considered a firearm under Arizona law?

  28. avatar mike says:

    It all still boils down to a high speed projectile traveling out of a barrel, initiated by a trigger pull. This obviously describes both a firearm and airgun.

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