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The Arizona Legislature is considering several bills expanding protections for the right of Arizonans to carry concealed weapons in public areas as well as limiting the state’s ability to regulate firearms transfers, reports the Associated Press (via KTAR News). “A bill [House Bill 2320] by Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, would allow concealed-carry permit holders to take their weapons into public buildings such as public libraries while excluding bars, hospitals, high schools and universities. “We’re talking about specifically those who are licensed, who’ve had background checks and who’ve been fingerprinted. We know these are not the bad guys,” she said” . . .

Barton said her bill obligates public establishments to take care of residents or let them care of themselves. “Well if you’re going to take away somebody’s constitutional right to be self-protected, then you need to protect them,” Barton said.

Note that HB 2320 does not make it illegal for a private property owner to bar someone from carrying a firearm on their property. The bill specifically states (at page 3): “This paragraph does not limit, restrict or prohibit the existing rights of a private property owner, private tenant, private employer or private business entity.” All it does is remove the criminal penalty of “misconduct involving weapons” (which apparently entails a penalty of up to a $2,500.00 fine and six months in jail.)

HB 2320 passed on a 33-25 vote and is on its way to the Arizona Senate. Former Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, vetoed similar legislation three times during her term in office; it’s unclear whether or not current Governor Doug Ducey will sign or veto this bill. When asked about it by reporters, the Arizona Republic reports that the governor simply said: “I’m not going to comment on bills that are moving through the Legislature.”

There were a few other bills related to firearms also getting attention in Phoenix, including:

* House Bill 2431, sponsored by Representatives Barton and Bob Thorpe (also a Republican), would require Arizona to enter into compacts with other states that commit to not enacting any law on firearms transfers that is more restrictive than Federal law. It would also bar any voter-approved initiative to change the law.

* House Bill 1330, which would ‘nullify’ “All federal acts, laws, orders, rules and regulations that are in violation of the second amendment to the United States Constitution, that are unauthorized by the Constitution and that violate the second amendment’s true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers of the United States Constitution….”

While I don’t have my ear to the ground on Arizona politics from my vantage point here in the Paris of Appalachia, it appears to me that HB 2320 is a worthwhile bill that Arizona pols would do well to enact. If a public building is so sensitive as to require disarming all citizens who cross its threshold, it’s only common sense to ask that all reasonable steps be taken to secure the building in the first place.

It’s a useful corrective to what is otherwise an all-too-typical game of security theater by state and local governments who insist on tacking a “NO GUNS ALLOWED” sign on a building, without providing any actual security.

The interstate compact idea in HB 2431 is an interesting idea. A compact between the several states is specifically barred per article I sec. 10 of the U.S. Constitution, without the consent of Congress, but once it has that consent, the compact makes the compact a law of the United States. Consent of Congress would come in the form of some sort of legislation which would then be subject to a presidential veto. (In fact, President Franklin Roosevelt vetoed Congressional approval of a compact between Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska back in 1942.)

This bill sounds like it was influenced by a paper written by Mario Loyola and Ted Cruz in 2010, (before Cruz was elected to the U.S. Senate,) concerning ways to blunt the impact of Obamacare. Loyola and Cruz acknowledge that courts haven’t officially adjudicated the issue of whether or not the President’s signature is required for Congressional “consent” here, and either way, this would almost certainly involve some drawn-out litigation.

There’s also the matter of barring Arizonans from overturning the compact through popular referendum. It seems to be an unnecessary poke in the eye against popular sovereignty. (I’ve also seen some questions raised whether or not it is constitutional under Arizona’s constitution; since I have no expertise in Arizona constitutional law, I’ll let that go without comment.) Overall, an interesting long-term strategy, but no immediate tangible gain–and since politics is very much a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately sport, it makes me wonder if it’ll go anywhere just for that reason.

In contrast to the first two, I don’t see much point in HB 1330. The text of the bill uses the trigger word “nullify”, which has a long and sordid past in our country, but then doesn’t even define what it means by “true meaning and intent as given by the founders and ratifiers of the…Constitution.” Zounds, if you disagree with the feds on constitutional interpretation of the Second Amendment enough to get in their faces about it with a nullification act, at least have the courage to state what you think the Constitution actually says so it’s clear to everyone.

A bare statement about the founders’ “true meaning and intent” and $3.50 gets me a mocha frappuccino with whipped cream at my local Starbucks. Smells like pure political theater to me.

(H/T: Landis A.)

DISCLAIMER: The above is an opinion piece, and is not legal advice, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship in any sense. If you need legal advice on this subject, you are strongly urged to hire and consult your own counsel.


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  1. Why do we play into the anti’s word games by saying gun laws are being “liberalized”?

      • Correct literal usage but completely opposite of the “culturally accepted” definition.

      • Yes, it’s the left who have miss-appropriated the word “liberal” to help mask their authoritarianism. Help take it back, deny them that cover every chance you get.

      • If the baseline is “shall not be infringed” then how is the REMOVAL of infringements liberalizing?

  2. “We’re talking about specifically those who are licensed, who’ve had background checks and who’ve been fingerprinted. We know these are not the bad guys,” she said” .

    Will the criminals, mentally unsound, and jihadists that carry concealed and open carry weapons be licensed, pass background checks, and be fingerprinted? Then why require it from good citizens?

  3. I am counting down the days until I can flee to the free stat of AZ! Also HB 1330 sounds particularly awesome.

    • Good for you. I wish my state(Utah) would get off it’s thumb and start following AZ’s lead.

  4. Whatever. They’re polishing the head of a pin in order to decide how many angels are allowed to dance on it. While carrying.

    In my state, you can carry into a restaurant, bar, “no gun” establishment. But if you misbehave, you’re going to jail and will be carrying a felony rap.

  5. The removal of the ‘$2500 fine and up to 6 months in jail’ for those carrying in a place that has ARS 4-229 signs would be great. Failure to follow the proper posting rules of this statute by businesses around the state seems to be the norm.

  6. ‘…while excluding bars…’

    What? Here I thought Arizona was a gun owners paradise! I can sit down at a bar and drink with my gat concealed or open (although I suppose open could get you asked to leave) up until my BAC reaches 0.08% at which point my Iowa Weapons Carry Permit becomes temporarily invalid. Guns & Ammo ranked AZ #1 for concealed carry and Iowa #21. Guess they must be a bunch of teetotalers over there.

    • We can carry in bars as long as we have a ccw permit, don’t drink, and the bar doesn’t have a posted A.R.S. 4-229 sign clearly posted at the entry of the establishment. Not the best rules in a constitutional carry state, but the state legislature keeps chipping away at the restrictions.

      • Ok this confuses me, I’m not being sarcastic I really want to know, I always thought AZ had constitutional carry and that meant no permit required to carry. But you do need a permit to carry in some places?

        • AZ is constitutional carry, but they still issue permits as well. There are a few things, like entering a place that serves alcohol and not having to go through NICS every time I purchase a firearm, that still require having a permit. I have kept my permit because I go out of the state a lot for work and I need the the card in my wallet for reciprocity.

  7. Drink and ccw/co doesn’t mix to well. I made myself a promise, if I drink I can’t carry. It’s for my protection, I don’t want court vs carry to come down on me, just saying, others are taking a chance, just two drinks starts the uti. thing. Although I might be a light weight. Be safe out there!

    • Just my 2 cents, but, state and local laws aside, if you’re legal to drive a 5000lb. pickup around at 70mph you should be legal to have a firearm tucked under your shirt. In fact, being in possession of a firearm is less like driving a car and more like having the keys to your car in your pocket – neither can harm anyone unless you take them out, no matter how intoxicated you are.

      Now I’d argue that being intoxicated is risky for a whole host of reasons. I’ve personally done plenty of stupid things do to being in an intoxicated stupor (I’ve since become older and wiser). But I’ve personally never been so intoxicated as to lose such a degree of self control as to misuse a firearm. If I were to get passed out drunk in public with a firearm my greatest fear would be the legal trouble that might ensue. My second greatest fear is that I might lose my firearm and it might wind up in the hands of exactly the kind of person I would least want to have a firearm. The fear that I would misuse the firearm doesn’t even exist, because that level of intoxication would be beyond losing conscientiousness and pissing my pants.

      That said, I realize there are political compromises that must be made, and 0.08% BAC seems to be a pretty reasonably compromise. A handgun is no more lethal of a weapon than a motor vehicle.

      • Depending on where your carry rig is, pissing your pants might BE misusing your firearm. Or at least abusing!

        • Yes, I’d recommend stainless steel if you’re appendix carrying. Being soaked in pee does make it less attractive to thieves though.

  8. There is already a law on the books here that requires public establishments requiring disarmament to provide secure weapons storage as well as require everybody go through a metal detector. The majority of the courts here follow this law, and the Marshals providing security for them are generally very accommodating. Some public establishments do not adhere to this law, and in those I carry regardless of sign. Some of them forgo the metal detector while still supplying the locker, which is just there to keep honest people honest.

    My job as a courier takes me all over the Phoenix metro, and regularly to several courthouses. Some of the places that don’t follow the law correctly come into compliance when they are called out. Others shrug it off.

    The no firearms allowed pursuant to ARS 4-229 signs are a bit of a joke among the gun community here. While they technically have force of law here, the majority of the ones I see are not correct signage. The ARS cited on those signs pertains specifically to places that sell alcohol for on site consumption, yet I see them on doors of businesses all the time. Additionally, the law requires that one be posted at the door AND near the liquor license. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen one next to the liquor license.

  9. The bill removing the popular referendum is a good thing. The mob of sheeple will always be easily swayed, and can easily be convinced to do the “common sense” thing “for the children.”

    Our founders were distrustful of Democracies, since they are “as short in their lives as they are violent in their deaths” and anything that pushes us away from direct mob rule and back towards how the system is SUPPOSED TO WORK is a good thing.

  10. After the I-594 stupidity here in Washington state, I’m reconsidering the utility of the whole voter initiative thing. Ballot initiatives that bring citizens’ proposals directly to the legislature, fine. Creating new laws through a simple majority vote that bypasses government entirely, no.

    We elect legislatures for a reason. There needs to be a barrier between popular sentiment and the law. Direct democracy is just an organized form of mob rule. If you think the rich, popular, and powerful have undue influence in the legislature, just wait until they can bring their case directly to the public. John and Jane Q. Public have no problem with new rules that only affect “those other people,” whoever the other people may be (gun owners? homosexuals? Christians? Non-Christians?), they haven’t taken any oaths, and they don’t have to worry about getting re-elected. They bear no visible consequences for voting other people’s freedom away.

    If Arizona can pass legislation to protect itself from the same stupid thing, then they had better do it.

    • Have to agree. When something like 594 can pass with an initiative then I think the process is flawed. At Evergreen College here the students are taught how to use initiatives to help pass “progressive” laws. Like we really need more of those.

  11. Maybe not the gun owners paradise it used to be. The new governor cut the budget to several places and I think it was to buy about a million new “State Trust Land- No Trespassing -No Target Shooting” signs. I mean they are everywhere – especially some informal ranges that I’ve gone to for years, never a problem before. They just started showing up about a month ago. Yes I can go to Ben Avery or even Table Mesa but they get awful crowded on weekends. It’s just kind of nice to go to your own little area and do a little responsible plinking without half of Phoenix there too. Still I’m glad I’m in AZ.

    • Agreed. In GA here, the gun laws a superb. However, trying to find a decent range that you can actually realistically train at, or doesn’t take all the fun out of shooting, or isn’t overflowing with people is a real challenge.

    • On public land, where you’ve shot for years, why would you pay any attention to a sign, other than to use it as a target? Is there an armed guard?

  12. A few years back VA passed the law allowing firearms into restaurants, ( we don’t have “bars” I believe it’s 65% of sales has to be food) allowing us to carry in those establishments BUT can NOT drink. Before the law was passed the screams where blood would flow, bodies would be piling up from the shootouts.

    I only know of one shooting inside of a bar, small local place, a “stranger” walked in to rob the place, he didn’t walk out. No charges were filed to the patron that defended the place.

    After doing some law enforcement, my personal rule, either I drink and don’t drive or carry or carry and drive and no drink, no worry about .08 BAC. My personal rule, others have different rules they live by.

  13. Personally, I wish 2431 wasn’t necessary, but with the attempts by a certain bored NY millionaire that used to be a politician mucking around in business out of his own state, it seems the lesser of two evils at this point.

    In reference to 1330, In the last election, a ballot measure, proposition 122: The Arizona Rejection of Unconstitutional Federal Actions Amendment, was actually approved by voters, which was designed to allow the state to opt out of federal laws deemed unconstitutional by the voters or the state legislature. Firearms laws was actually not the focus of that intent, interesting enough.

  14. I love reading JP’s Articles. Well written, and informative. But I hate liking them, because I have always been biased against article writers who use a Pseudonym.

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