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Arizona Constitutional Carry About to Become Law…

April 15, 2010 2nd Amendment Issues, AZ CCW Laws No Comments

A bill that would eliminate the requirement for Arizona residents to have a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in Arizona has passed both houses of the Arizona Legislature and is awaiting Governor Jan Brewer’s signature before it becomes law.  If signed by the governor, the new law would take effect 90 days after the close of the current legislative session.  Since the session usually ends in late June, this would mean the law would actually take effect sometime in late September.  If the governor does not sign or veto the legislation within 5 days of final passage, it will become law without her signature.

Arizona’s Senate Bill 1102 makes sweeping changes to the current law that requires an Arizona resident to possess a concealed carry permit in order to carry a concealed firearm.  Arizona has traditionally been what is described as an “Open Carry” state where citizens may carry a firearm openly anywhere it is legal to have a firearm.

In order to carry concealed in those same places, residents needed to have a “CCW permit” which was obtained by taking an 8 hour training course, qualifying with a firearm and passing a criminal background check.  This law would eliminate the permit requirement but not the permit program.

The key element in the new law is that a concealed carry permit is not necessary “unless required by any other law”.  For example, to carry a concealed firearm in a restaurant, Arizona law requires that you have a concealed weapons permit.  Similarly, federal law requires a state issued permit if you wish to carry concealed in a national park.  Anyone wishing to carry a concealed firearm in another state will need an Arizona CCW permit in order to have reciprocal privileges outside of Arizona.

Residents will still be able to get a CCW permit by taking a course that meets the requirements of the new law and submitting an application to the Arizona Department of Public Safety.  Courses that will satisfy the requirement include any NRA course, any approved Hunter Safety course or a course from an approved CCW instructor.

The courses offered by CCW instructors would probably be the best bet since they are specifically geared towards concealed carry and most instructors provide the application and fingerprinting service as part of their courses.

Opponents of the law feel that the current CCW process is a good one and has worked well for over 14 years.  Most feel that the minimal safety and marksmanship training requirement and education in the laws relating to the use of lethal or physical force in self defense are important for anyone carrying a concealed firearm.

Advocates of the new law argue that Second Amendment rights should not be constrained by concealed carry laws.  They also point to the fact that in 12 states across the US, concealed carry permits are issued without any training requirement or background check.  They further argue that criminal penalties associated with concealed carry can result in severe penalties for people that might inadvertently cover their firearm while carrying openly.

If signed into law, Arizona will become the third and the most heavily populated state to adopt ‘constitutional concealed carry’.  Currently only Alaska and Vermont permit concealed carry without a permit.

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