Arizona lawmakers just gave approval for four “major” pro-guns laws in the state senate. The state house of representatives approved Second Amendment related bills which allow concealed carry permit holders to take their firearms into government buildings which do not have security measures.
HB 22339, the gun bill which would allow concealed carry permit holders to ignore the “no weapons” signs posted on public buildings, was reportedly premised on the fact that permit holders are law-abiding citizens which have undergone state training.
Steve Gallardo, a Democratic Arizona State Senator from Phoenix, opposed the concealed carry permit exception for public buildings. Gallardo feels that the bill is “based on a faulty premise.” According to the Yuma Sun, the state lawmaker does not necessarily feel that permit holders have gone through “extensive training” on either weapons handling or how to determine when it is appropriate to use deadly force.
State Senator Gallardo had this to say about his opposition to the proposed concealed carry provisions:
“I would not have such a big argument on this bill if we had a strict [concealed carry permit] requirement where folks are required to have proper training. Not only do we have a bill that allows pretty much anyone to obtain a CCW permit, we now have a bill that’s really costly to government.”
Arizona’s concealed carry permit process appears to be at least as comprehensive as similar programs in a host of other states. Gun rights supporters feel that if trained law-abiding citizens are armed in public buildings, they are better able to protect themselves and others should another mass shooting tragedy or other criminal incident occur.
One of the Arizona pro-gun bills mandates fines on both municipalities and officials who enforce gun laws which are stricter than those passed by the state. HB 2517 would allow a court to administer a fine of up to $5,000 against elected and appointed officials, as well as the heads of administrative agencies, if a gun control law is knowingly and willfully enacted that exceeds weapons restrictions permitted under state law. The pro-Second Amendment legislation also makes it illegal to use taxpayer funds to defend or reimburse any government official found guilty of violating the statute.
Arizona HB 2517 also grants permission for gun rights groups and individuals to sue local lawmakers and agency officials for attempting to approve or enact a local gun law which exceeds limitations imposed by the state. If successful in such a legal endeavor, the injured gun rights group or individual can be reimbursed for “actual damages” up to the tune of $100,000.
Another of the Arizona gun laws would allow law enforcement officers to charge an individual who wrestles a gun away from another person with aggravated assault – doing so is already a felony offense. Nothing in the law appears to inflict such a penalty on an individual who is defending themselves or others from an active shooting.
The fourth Arizona pro-gun bill would prohibit municipalities from restricting the shooting of guns on private property. Currently more than 200,000 Arizona residents possess concealed carry permits. All four of the Arizona gun rights laws must now be approved by the full governing body before being placed on Governor Jan Brewer’s desk for signature.