Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Having surmounted numerous initial hurdles, SB 1108, championed by Sen. Russell Pearce (R-18), has passed the State Senate by a vote of 20-10 and is now up for consideration in the Arizona House of Representatives.
So what is SB 1108?
Well, it's not what it was initially introduced as -- the Arizona legislature has a habit of using a "strike everything" amendment procedure so that bills quite often end up bearing little resemblance to how they started.
In this case, the strike-everything worked in our favor... because SB 1108 is now a genuine, Alaska-style, permitless carry bill!
Alaska's law was derided by the usual Chicken Littles of the anti-gun crowd when passed. But surely it comes as no surprise to you that the law has been very successful, and the sky hasn't fallen.
Basically, SB 1108 states that if you are a law-abiding citizen over the age of 21, you do NOT have to beg the government for permission in order to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense.
The anti-gunners did manage to force one change you should know about. Gun Owners of America is extremely displeased with a new provision allowing a law enforcement officer to take "temporary" custody of your firearm during a routine traffic stop -- and a requirement that you let said officer know you are carrying in the first place.
But that's not a real step backwards... and it was sufficient to get the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police to drop its opposition to the bill. That is quite significant -- over the years, Chiefs' groups have done more to stymie state-level gun reforms than even Sarah Brady!
Rest assured, GOA will be back in years to come and will not rest until that provision is repealed. We did not agree to it and we don't like it.
On balance, however, SB 1108 represents a HUGE step forward in the struggle for the exercise of true Second Amendment rights.
After all, we're talking about PERMITLESS carry here... no more begging bureaucrats for permission to defend yourself! To date, only two states -- Alaska and Vermont -- have been pro-gun enough to trust their citizens until a person shows himself to be untrustworthy.
It's time for a third, and that third state can be Arizona -- through your efforts.
And when it rains it pours. An identical House bill, HB 2347 by Rep. Jim Weiers (R-10), is also moving briskly. But since the Senate bill has already passed, it will probably just be substituted for the House version -- in order to get a quick up-or-down vote that will then land the bill directly on the governor's desk.
Please contact your State Representative IMMEDIATELY in favor of true right-to-carry.
If you know who your Rep. is, at http://azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp?Body=H&SortBy=1
you will find his or her e-mail address and phone number.
If you don\'t know who your State Representative is, please go to http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm
and enter your zip code in the highlighted box. Then, scroll down to "Governor and State Legislators" and click on the name under "House of Representatives." This will give you a Contact tab. (We're sorry if that sounds convoluted, it's not really, but the look-up system on the Arizona state website is much more confusing.)
A pre-written letter is provided below to copy-and-paste into an e-mail, or to help guide your other contacts.
----- Pre-written letter -----
Please do all you can to support SB 1108 (and/or its House counterpart).
SB 1108, as passed by the Senate, is concealed carry legislation modeled after Alaska's successful carry law. Basically, it states that a law-abiding citizen may carry a concealed firearm, without a permit, for any purpose except the commission of a crime.
Anti-gun forces were able to demand a few changes -- a citizen must inform an officer they are carrying during a traffic stop, and the law enforcement officer may temporarily secure the weapon at such time.
These changes, though irksome, at least convinced the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police to drop its opposition to the bill. So there should be no reason why you would be other than enthusiastic at this point.
Because in essence, SB 1108 is about the freedom of the law-abiding citizen to exercise his or her Constitutional rights without asking permission from the government to do so.
I wholeheartedly support that concept, and thus I urge you not just to vote for, but to actively seek the passage of, SB 1108 and/or its House counterpart. The quickest way to the governor's desk is the best way, assuming no additional anti-gun amendments.
That bears repeating: please do not allow any anti-gun amendments as you work for passage of SB 1108.