Arizona becomes third state in U.S. legalizes carrying hidden weapon without permit

11:29, April 17, 2010      

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It's now legal for most adults in Arizona to carry concealed weapons without a permit, as Arizona governor Jan Brewer signed into law a measure on Friday, putting her state in the same camp as Alaska and Vermont in not requiring such permits.

"I believe strongly in the individual rights and responsibilities of a free society, and as governor I have pledged a solemn and important oath to protect and defend the Constitution," Brewer said in a news release.

"I believe this legislation not only protects the Second Amendment rights of Arizona citizens, but restores those rights as well."

The legislation, Senate Bill 1108, was introduced as the request of the Arizona Citizens Defense League. It was passed by a vote of 36-19 at the state senate on April 8, after it had been passed by state house earlier.

The law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns for this session, which could happen in the next couple of weeks.

Arizona had 154,279 active permits as of April 4. Permit holders are spread across all ages, races and counties, but white males older than 30 in Maricopa and Pima counties hold the majority, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety(DPS).

The measure eliminates the requirement for a concealed-carry weapons permit, but does require gun owners to accurately answer if an officer asks them if they are carrying weapon concealed. Officers are empowered to temporarily confiscate a weapon while they are talking to an individual, including during a traffic stop.

The federal government oversees the background-check program required to purchase a weapon, which will still be required in Arizona in most cases.

According to the current law, most U.S. citizens aged 21 or older are required to get a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon in the state. They also have to undergo federal background checks and take necessary eight-hour classes regarding information on state law, gun safety and basic shooting skills.

Applicants have to pay 79 dollars, plus 60 dollars for the five-year permit in order to be competent. The permits generated 1.8 million dollars in revenue last fiscal year, according to DPS.

Carrying a hidden piece of firearm without a permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to 2,500 dollars.

Governor Brewer, a Republican who rose to power in January 2009, was widely expected to sign it into law in order to muster Republican support.In 2008, Brewer's predecessor Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to have a hidden gun in vehicles without a concealed-carry permit. Gun-rights supporters believed their efforts this session would be more successful under Governor Brewer.

Source: Xinhua


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