Republican supporters claim bills are necessary to protect 2nd Amendment rights
PHOENIX, April 17, 2014 — The Arizona Senate gave initial approval to five major pro gun bills that Republicans said are necessary to protect 2nd Amendment rights.
As one may expect, the pro-gun bills have widespread Republican support while Democrats strongly oppose them.
House Bill 2339 would allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons into government buildings unless security measures — including armed guards, metal detectors and gun lockers — are in place. The measure, by Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, excludes public K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year.
Barton said law-abiding citizens who have gone through a multi-step process for a concealed-carry permit should be able to exercise the constitutional right to carry a gun.
Supporters of the bill say it protects the public in cases of a mass shooting. Opponents say the bill would impose costs on cities and towns and could actually put large crowds at danger.
House Bill 2338 would allow authorities to charge a person who’s accused of wresting a gun away from someone else with aggravated assault. Doing so is already a felony offense. Proponents said it is a preventative measure in case a criminal were to take the gun of someone using it in self-defense. Democrats said the measure is a waste of time because it rehashes what’s already a crime. This bill was also sponsored by Barton.
Under current law, off-duty and retired police officers have only a few restrictions on where they can carry firearms, including “when the officer consumes alcohol at a licensed liquor establishment operated by the state or a political subdivision of the state, unless authorized to do so in the performance of the peace officer’s duties”. H.B.2336 is an expansion of this law with its purpose being to prevent the police from carrying a firearm while they’re consuming alcohol at any licensed liquor establishment.
State law already includes many prohibitions on counties and cities making their own gun regulations, including the gun-buyback programs that were popular in Phoenix. House Bill 2517 creates penalties for violating those laws, like a $5,000 fine against the government official whose agency violated the laws, and calls for their firing, among other things.
House Bill 2483 would ban cities, counties and towns from restricting the shooting of guns on private property. Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills sponsored the bill. He says the bill was prompted by Yavapai County’s effort to restrict shooting on a property owned by a rural Prescott man.
After each of these bills is approved by the full governing body, it’s placed on Gov. Brewer’s desk for signature. Currently three of the five bills have already made it through the full governing body and await the stroke of the Governor’s pen.
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