State Capitol News
12:44 pm
Fri June 12, 2009

Senate allows guns in restaurants

Phoenix, AZ – State senators voted today to make guns welcome at places where
alcohol is served unless the business owner post signs to keep
the weapons out.

The measure, pushed by the National Rifle Association, would
bring Arizona in line with a majority of other states where there
is no ban on guns in such places. To get the voters, backers
agreed to several compromises. First, it would apply only to
those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Second, business owners could override the law by posting a no
guns here sign. And third, anyone who was armed would not be
allowed to drink. But Sen. Ken Cheuvront, who owns a restaurant
with a liquor license, pointed out the measure actually decreases
the penalty for those who drink while armed, down to a Class 3
misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty of only 30 days in
jail.

(I think its very important when we look at people drinking with
a gun that the penalty should not be lessened as it is in this
bill but that we also try to increase the penalty to make sure
that people aren't drinking and using a gun at the same time.)

But Sen. Russell Pearce said the lower penalty is appropriate for
people who may have just forgotten they had the gun when they
grabbed the drink.

(Let's not get silly here and impose draconian kinds of
punishments on good citizens who may have just inadvertently
brought a gun into Denny's while having their Grand Slam.)

The measure needs a final roll-call vote before going to the
House.