Hot off the press, from AZCDL:
HB 2630, an AzCDL requested bill that reduces the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit to a petty offense, was vetoed by the Governor on April 29, 2008. You can read her veto letter here: http://www.azleg.gov/govlettr/48leg/2R/HB2630.pdf
HB 2630 would have reclassified carrying a concealed weapon without a permit as a petty offense, unless the violation occurred in the commission of, or attempted commission of, a "serious offense or violent crime", in which case the CCW offense would have been a class 6 felony, or any other felony offense, in which case it would have remained a class 1 misdemeanor. In a nutshell, if you're a bad guy carrying a concealed weapon, penalties would have been stiffened. If you're a law-abiding citizen, it would have become a petty offense.
Under current law, if you have not been issued a concealed weapons (CCW) permit, it is a class 1 misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapon. Everyone is treated like a criminal. Sadly, because of a couple of 1994 Appellate Court decisions, there is no clear, objective standard in statute that you can rely on to determine if you are violating the law.
In her veto letter on HB 2630, Governor Napolitano says "obtain the required permit." She then says that "people who fail to do so are, by definition, lawbreakers…." She goes on to say that "serious criminals, especially gang members, often carry concealed weapons without permits." Per the Governor, there is no distinction between gang members intentionally breaking the law, and a law-abiding person's attempt to comply with a law clouded by head-scratching court decisions. If your openly carried firearm can't be seen because of the angle that the police officer is looking at you, and you don't have a CCW permit – you are the same as a gang member. If you have a CCW permit, and are sitting near someone in a vehicle that may have access to your firearm – they are the same as gang members. If a newspaper falls over the gun that is sitting on the seat of your vehicle, and you don't have a CCW permit – you are the same as a gang member.
Governor Napolitano says that "…law enforcement officers must have the full array of enforcement options to use against these violators…" In other words, arrest everyone and let the courts sort it out. That sure beats separating the bad guys from the good guys.
Over 98% of Arizona citizens do not have concealed weapons permits, largely because the Arizona Constitution supposedly protects the right to "open carry." Per Governor Napolitano, that's not relevant – you better get a permit if your weapon might ever be considered concealed, or else you're a lawbreaker!
Information on this and other bills can be found at the AzCDL website: http://www.azcdl.org/html/legislation.html
As legislation progresses, we will keep you up to date via these Alerts and at our website.
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.
Napolitano had the option in past years (2007 SB 1301) to sign legislation in AZ that would have clarified AZ open carry laws. Clarification that could prevent the current issues of Officers booking people for concealed carry when they were in fact open carrying (ie Officer approached from opposite side & did not see the gun, or open carry while seated in a car) & she vetoed those bills as well with the same snide remark if you want to carry a gun, "get a permit."
Perhaps she has not yet read Article 2, Section 26 of the Arizona Constitution which protects our preexisting right to bear arms: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the State shall not be impaired . . ." Not to mention the 2nd Amendment in our US Bill of Rights which clearly states that our right to keep & bear arms shall not be infringed: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
If she has the nerve to run for any future forms of public office let's all get together & send her a clear message - her vote against our right to bear arms will lead to our vote for her political opponent. She has said many times that she supports gun owners, but her actions speak much louder than her words. As I heard Wayne LaPierre say at the 2007 CPAC about anti gun politicians:
"The NRA has a permanent cure . . . it's a big bitter pill called loosing the next election, and it may be tough to swallow, but take two & don't bother calling us in the morning"