While government has no business unnecessarily or unreasonably restricting law-abiding citizens' constitutional right to bear arms, it shouldn't be weakening or erasing laws that help the cops nail armed bad guys.
Of three gun bills being considered by the Arizona House, one would help law-abiding citizens, another would help bad guys and a third is mere harmless idiocy.
The first, HB2353, would allow individuals who have concealed-carry permits in other states to carry their concealed weapons here as well. Although people who move here should have to qualify after a certain period under Arizona's requirements, which include training, those visiting or passing through shouldn't be penalized or put at risk simply for not having an Arizona permit.
But another bill, HB2321, that would drastically reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon illegally should be dispatched to the legislative shredder. Penalties under current law include up to a $1,200 fine and six months in jail, along with confiscation of the weapon.
But the bill's sponsors would turn what is now a potent tool for law enforcement into a $50 hand-slap. They claim current law infringes on the right to bear arms. But it's perfectly legal now for any law-abiding Arizonan to carry a gun without a permit, as long as it's not concealed.
Requiring those who wish to conceal their weapons to apply for a permit and complete some training does not jeopardize law-abiding citizens' constitutional rights. It's a perfectly reasonable expectation in a civilized society that can and must avoid giving legal safe haven to those among us with criminal intent.
While not a panacea, tough concealed-weapons laws not only are a deterrent, but allow police and prosecutors to win stiffer sentences in court for those who commit robbery or other crimes with guns.
The third bill, which is harmless idiocy, provides insight into the mindset of those who would emasculate the concealed-weapons law. HCR2025 is a cheerleading measure declaring that gun shows “provide a safe, historical, valuable and indispensable community service” and prohibiting their regulation.
The Legislature shouldn't be favoring certain commercial enterprises by exempting them from reasonable regulations. And there are plenty of remedies available already to fight regulations that violate constitutional rights.