Monday, January 31, 2011

Arizona: Getting crazier by the day

Gun laws: Arizona is on the verge of becoming the second state in the nation to require universities and communities to allow guns on campus and one of 10 that permit guns inside public government buildings such as the state Capitol.  According to the Arizona Republic, the new omnibus gun law includes the following provisions:
·        Allow people to carry firearms into all government-run facilities and many public events. The only places or events that could ban firearms would be those that post the correct sign, provide firearm lockers and have armed security and a metal detector. The law would apply to university classrooms, city buses and community festivals that get government permits. It would not apply to K-12 schools.
·        Change the wording of last year's concealed-weapons law to require an individual to answer "truthfully" when a law-enforcement officer asks whether the person is carrying a concealed weapon. The current wording requires the person to answer "accurately." Law-enforcement officials say the change could give leeway to a person who, for example, forgets a gun in a bag and inaccurately tells an officer he or she isn't carrying one.
·        Change the wording of Shannon's Law to make it a crime to "knowingly" discharge a firearm within city limits. It's currently a crime for someone to discharge a firearm with "criminal negligence." Bill opponents said the change would mean people could be convicted of violating this law only if the prosecution could prove they knew that shooting the gun could result in someone's death or injury.
·        Allow people to sue if they feel they were illegally stopped from carrying a firearm into a government facility or event. If a person wins the lawsuit and the government agency doesn't pay within 72 hours, the person has the right to seize as payment "any municipal vehicles used or operated for the benefit of any elected office holder" in the relevant government agency.
The state already allows concealed weapons in bars and it is no longer a requirement to have a permit to carry conceal.  By increasing the ease of carrying weapons and the places where they can be carried, the state has created its own arms race. 
On the bright side, it was nice to see Mayor Bloomberg expose the ludicrous laws in the Arizona territory.  His undercover sting demonstrated how lax gun shows and how little the local authorities in Arizona care about enforcing the few laws remaining on the books. 
Gun advocates love to say that gun control laws do not reduce homicide rates.  Can’t say either way until the data is analyzed, what I can say is that the penalties for illegal forearm sales and ownership are lax.  Enforce the laws and make the punishment meaningful.  Heck in Arizona where the governor’s own staff are private prison lobbyists, you would think they would jump at the chance to increase the prison population.
Why do the places with the nicest weather end up being so messed up?

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