Arizona's extremely strict laws on criminal misuse
of firearms are unaffected by the new public freedoms, although a penalty for
criminals got tougher. New language now makes concealed carry in the commission
of a serious crime a felony. This led to support of the bill from police around
the state. Formerly, that offense was a misdemeanor.
The intrusive government "permit" system
in Arizona, introduced in 1994 with paperwork, approvals, fingerprinting,
criminal-database listings, required classes, two mandatory tests, taxation and
expiration dates to exercise "rights" is still available, but is now
optional. Enormous police resources that could be going directly toward
reducing crime have instead been diverted by the program into registering,
regulating and tracking the innocent. About 3% of the public have signed
up for the plastic-coated permission slips, though an estimated 50% of the
state's population keeps and bears arms. Official sources acknowledge they get
millions of dollars per year from the permit taxes called "fees."
"This new law brings rights restoration for
the public, and an increase in freedom for law-abiding people," said Dave
Kopp, a lobbyist for the Arizona Citizens Defense League that requested and
promoted the new law. "The people have the same right to bear arms
discreetly that they have to bear arms openly, we are simply correcting statute
to reflect that. If your jacket accidentally covers your sidearm, that no
longer exposes you to criminal penalties." A woman will be able to put a
handgun in her handbag, go about her business, and not be subject to arrest.
The key changes in the law were made by repealing
the infringing language in A.R.S. §13-3102, not by enacting new rules. A number
of other changes were made in SB 1108, the bill that carried the Constitutional
Carry law, and these will be described in plain English and posted by
gunlaws.com next week. The new law will become effective 90 days after the
legislature closes, or approximately in July.
"Opportunities for firearms training and gun
safety can increase tremendously with this new law", said Alan Korwin,
author of The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide, the book that describes the
state's gun laws in plain English. "Instead of focusing on a tiny
percentage of the market willing to submit to the permit system, smart trainers
can now offer Freedom To Carry classes to the general public. We're
anticipating Family Days At The Range and Constitutional Carry classes to
spring up statewide," he said. Removal of the $60 tax for the permit
represents a significant discount, he notes.
"We sold The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide
by the truckload for five years before there was any CCW law, and expect to do
the same now, though permit holders did become and will remain a segment of our
business," Korwin said. The Guide
is now in its 24th edition, and
a free update will be released shortly. The book's publisher, Scottsdale-based
Bloomfield Press, is the largest publisher and distributor of gun-law books in
the country. http://www.gunlaws.com
The permission-slip system is unaffected and
offers some advantages to citizens. Other states recognize the Arizona permit
under "reciprocity," which allows permit holders to carry firearms
when in those states (currently 23 according to the Dept. of Public Safety).
In addition, since permitees are constantly
monitored through the criminal databases DPS registers them in, they can shop
at retail for firearms without undergoing separate FBI background checks each
time they make a purchase. Also, some people just get a sense of security by
having a plastic government "authorization" card in their wallets,
and they enjoy showing it to friends.
Another CCW-permit benefit is the ability to carry
in restaurants that serve alcohol, as long as the restaurant itself doesn't ban
possession and the person doesn't drink while there. Whether those various
denials of rights will be eliminated in future legislation, making the general
public equal to permission-slip holders, was unknown at press time.
Previously only people with government-permission
cards in their possession could bear arms in certain parks. That ban was
eliminated by a separate bill this year, which now makes permit holders and the
general public equal.
According to MSNBC, some six million Americans
have permits and carry discreetly. The fears of shootouts at stop lights,
bullets for slow waiters and Wild West-style belligerence have been repeatedly
proven false and dispelled as hoplophobic fantasies. Statistics have shown that
crime uniformly drops when states reduce infringements on the right of
law-abiding people to keep and bear arms. "Society is safer when criminals
don't know who's armed," according to the California-based civil rights
Sales of small easily carried sidearms and
accessories are expected to increase with passage of the new law.
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY
Q: Why is the CCW permit being eliminated?
A: The CCW permit is not being eliminated
-- that appears to have been misinformation designed to scuttle the bill. The
permit system remains completely unaffected by Freedom To Carry. The permit,
its advantages, the training, reciprocity schemes, the classes, fees and taxes
are unchanged. That all remains voluntary as it always has been. Anyone who
meets that law's requirements can apply. Shame on the "news" media
that has repeatedly said otherwise.
Q: What's the difference between Constitutional
Carry and Freedom To Carry?
A: There's no difference, they're just two names
for the same thing. Constitutional Carry, the more formal term, comes from
following the Arizona Constitution's provision that "The right of the
individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be
impaired...". Freedom To Carry (no government interference with the right
to arms) refers to the next step after so-called Right To Carry (massive
government interference with the right to arms).
Q: If people can just carry guns, won't crime and
gun problems skyrocket?
A: Half of Arizonans keep and bear arms now,
without any of the CCW red tape and government supervision, and without any
"skyrocketing" problems. Removing the requirement to only carry
openly doesn't change who people are or how they act, it just restores their
rights. Restoration of rights and becoming mentally unhinged are not related --
but the same arguments have been made everywhere CCW programs passed.
It's commonly recognized that some folks,
especially people who lean left politically, do seem to equate discreetly
bearing arms and becoming unglued. Decades of experience however provide no
evidence of any such behavior. Those concerns have been repeatedly proven false
and often turn out to be irrational fear mongering. Government permission slips
for the exercise of rights have not turned people into homicidal maniacs.
Restoring the right to discreetly bear arms will not change people into
something they are not, and brings the state into proper compliance with its
Q: Can anyone carry a gun?
A: Anyone who could legally carry a gun previously
can legally carry under this law, no more, no less. "Prohibited
possessors" -- criminals, illegal aliens and others forbidden to carry
arms remain banned as always. The main change is that now a woman can put a
handgun in her handbag without being subject to arrest for carrying discreetly
without a government permission slip (and a man has equal right to carry a gun
in any discreet manner -- under a sport coat or shirt, in a pocket or pants
holster, fanny pack, attaché case, etc.)
Q: Training is a good thing, why was it
A: Training is indeed a good thing and it is not
eliminated. Anyone can and should take as much training as they want, which is
voluntary. What has changed is that you are no longer forced to take
government-mandated classes, registration and taxes before you can exercise
your right to carry discreetly. This is the same formula working in Arizona
since statehood for open carry (which includes concealed carry in your home,
business, land, vehicle (with some minor conditions), and in a visible scabbard
or case designed for carrying weapons, or in luggage. Now that the half of the
public that bears arms can do so discreetly, many experts expect statewide gun
training to flourish.
Q: Won't people shoot each other if they're not
required to take the training?
A: Twelve states currently issue CCW permits without
a training requirement and they're doing just fine. Half of Arizonans exercise
their right to arms without government-demanded training and they're doing just
fine. The idea that you're only safe if government requires training is
statist, foolish and incorrect. That said, responsible people should get
education and training for firearms—and swimming, machine tools, medical care,
raising children, being married, owning a home, preparing food, writing
articles, etc., without government mandates.
If government could require training for
everything that has risk, your freedom would be evaporated and your government
would be out of line. Government has no legitimate delegated authority in this
country to be your nanny like that, or to require anything beyond the specific,
limited delegated powers given to it in the Constitution and subsequent valid
legislation. The fact that government has in many cases abandoned those
constraints is part of why the Tea Party movement has gained such ground and,
in some cases, driven the public out into the streets with pitchforks
Currently, 11 states issue carry permits without
training and they're fine (AL, DE, GA, ID, IN, MD, MS, NH, PA, SD, WA). Because
Arizona recognizes all other permits, many of our snowbirds have been carrying
under those permits, without problems.
Q: Why are children of any age going to be allowed
to carry guns to school?
A: That is total nonsense. No such thing occurs.
The bill has no effect on children. That appears to be part of a misinformation
campaign designed to scuttle the bill. There is no change as to who has the
right to keep and bear arms. School grounds are unaffected by the law. That
question is typical of similar lies and disinformation used to defeat and
mislead the public about many good bills that seek to restore our civil rights.
It's almost as bad as the lies told about blacks during the civil rights era of
the 1960s. Almost.
Q: Will other states imitate Arizona and enact
A: Many people hope so, and it has the backing of
the gun-rights groups.
AFTERWORD: INSIDER INFORMATION:
There is one reason and one reason only why this
got done --
The Arizona Citizens Defense League.
That small handful of guys running this group, the
two full-time volunteer lobbyists Dave Kopp and John Wentling, and the
thousands of members who supported the effort with their tiny membership dues
are exactly and precisely why our rights have expanded.
It was a deliberate, conscientious, focused and
tireless effort from what must be a candidate for the best pro-rights
organization in the nation. Get your friends to join, send a donation or buy a
t-shirt or hat, attend the meetings, and in your little way, make a difference
and preserve our rights. http://www.azcdl.org
One other tidbit -- the NRA was rightfully nervous
about this whole Freedom To Carry, permitless, no training, no red tape
expansion of our rights. They dragged their feet at first, that's putting it
mildly, and I can't say I blame them. An awful lot was on the line.
They wanted to be prudent. Limit exposure and
risk. They have all their trainers to think about and that revenue stream. The
chance of falling flat on your face in total embarrassment is a serious
concern. The ease with which the antis might cast us as dangerous gun-toting
(their media's favorite slur) nuts is a real issue.
I personally debated hard with some of the top
brass, and to their credit, they finally agreed not to fight the effort in
Arizona, and eventually saw the light and got on board. Some gun owners like to
pick on the NRA, but the NRA is going to be at the forefront of this battle.
The Constitutional Carry issue does make sense, for them and for us. It will be
a winner in some states, maybe yours, and does advance everything for which NRA
Yes, some of those members, steeped in darkness,
or hooked on the government-permit feed trough, believe that red-tapeless carry
is a bad idea. They crave government supervision. They want that permission
slip in their wallet. They'll learn, and come around. And continue to get fine
training from NRA certified and other trainers because it's the right thing to
do, not because the government commands it. Appleseed is doing a phenomenal job
in the training arena too, check them out while you're at it. http://www.appleseedinfo.org
I have finally completed the long-awaited analysis of the oral arguments in the
McDonald v. Chicago
gun-ban case. Both attorneys took a whupping, but I
think our rights came out on top. Justices showed their true colors (like Breyer
comparing free speech to death by gun). It's fascinating if you're into this
sort of thing, and way easier than plodding through the transcripts. Sorry it
took so long.
Contact Felicity Bower or
"We publish the gun laws."
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Call, write, fax or click for free full-color catalog
(This is our address and info as of Jan. 1, 2007)