Legislative update from AZCDL:
HB 2629, an AzCDL requested bill that clarifies when a defensive display of a firearm is justified, passed the House Final Read on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, by a vote of 34-26, and was transmitted to the Governor, who has already threatened to veto the bill.
It is VERY important to contact the Governor, and urge her to sign HB 2629 into law. You can use your own message, or you can use the sample message below. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also fax a letter to her at 602-542-1381.
Or you can mail it to her at the following address:
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
You can also call her office at 602-542-4331 or toll free, at 1-800-253-0883.
Following the sample letter are instructions on how to post your comments on the Governor's website.
Subject: Please sign HB 2629
The Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL) has informed me that important legislation, HB 2629, is awaiting your signature. I urge you to sign HB 2629 into law.
HB 2629 would add a new justification defense to ARS Title 13, Chapter 4 regarding the defensive display of a firearm. The U.S. Department of Justice has estimated that, nationwide, there are 1.5 million defensive uses of firearms each year (National Institute of Justice, NCJ 155476, May 1997).
In about 75% of defensive firearm instances, a shot is never fired and the threat is dissuaded via a defensive display or warning (Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz, "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun," Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 86(1):150-187, Fall 1995).
Unfortunately, Arizona law effectively rules out the use of anything other than lethal force with a firearm for self-defense. Under current law, a defensive display can be, and typically is, categorized as "endangerment"
(ARS 13-1201), "threatening and intimidation" (ARS 13-1202), "assault" (ARS 13-1203), or "aggravated assault" (ARS 13-1204).
Opponents of this proposal have suggested that people are not currently prosecuted for displaying a weapon when threatened with bodily harm, but testimony in the Senate Judiciary Committee proved otherwise. Testimony during the hearing, especially from Michael Anthony, a recognized expert in the field, and the author of the text used by AZ DPS to train CCW instructors in Arizona's laws concerning the use of deadly force, shed quite a bit of light on the reality of the situation. The simple fact is that people are frequently arrested, and occasionally jailed, for doing nothing more than displaying a weapon in an attempt to defend themselves: http://tinyurl.com/4vxdeq
The proposed language should reduce the necessity to use lethal force in self-defense situations while assuring that law-abiding citizens are not unfairly targeted for prosecution when attempting to diffuse a threatening situation with a non-lethal defensive display.
Again, I urge you to support sound public policy, and sign HB 2629 into law.
City, AZ zip-code
You can go to the Governor's website, http://azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp, where you will find a fill-in-the-blanks form to register your opinion. For "subject", scroll down and select "Legislation." For "topic", fill in "HB 2629."
You can add your own polite message urging her to sign HB 2629 in the "message/comment" area, or you can use the sample message above.
Meanwhile, back in the Legislature, the House recovered from Tuesday's legislative shenanigans, and engaged in bipartisan voting.
SB 1070, an AzCDL requested bill that makes it easier for lawful gun owners who have satisfactorily completed training to obtain a permit, or renew an expired one, passed handily by 43-17 in a reconsideration vote, after being defeated in Tuesday's vote.
SB 1106, Senator Chuck Gray's bill that provides for an optional lifetime CCW permit, also recovered from Tuesday's defeat, and passed by 35-25 in a reconsideration vote.
Both bills will now go back to the Senate for concurrence and a Final Read vote.
Over in the Senate, HB 2634, the AzCDL requested bill that clarifies that a person with an expunged or set-aside felony conviction, or one who has had their rights restored, may obtain a concealed weapons permit, passed out of the Senate Third Read on Wednesday, May 21, 2008, by a vote of 18-7 with 5 Senators not voting. HB 2634 now goes back to the House for concurrence and a Final Read vote.
Stay tuned! Information on these and other bills can be found at the AzCDL website: http://www.azcdl.org/html/legislation.html
These alerts are a project of the Arizona Citizens Defense League (AzCDL), an all volunteer, non-profit, non-partisan grassroots organization. Join today!
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Copyright © 2008 Arizona Citizens Defense League, Inc., all rights reserved.