State Capitol News
9:52 pm
Sun March 23, 2008

Senate panel redues penalty for carrying a concealed weapon

Phoenix, AZ – A Senate panel voted Monday to sharply reduce the penalty for those who carry a concealed weapon without getting the necessary permit. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer reports.


State law pretty much allows anyone to carry a gun in the open.
But hiding it in a jacket, boot or elsewhere requires a permit,
which includes state-approved training and a background check.
Those who carry concealed without a permit can be sentenced to up
to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine. John Wentling of the
Arizona Citizens Defense League said that's not fair.

(What we're trying to remedy is when it's a simple traffic
violation, an inadvertent concealment of their weapon. Somebody's
life shouldn't be ruined with a Class 1 misdemeanor because their
jacket fell off the seat when they came to a stop and covered
their weapon when they were pulled over on a traffic stop.)

But John Thomas who lobbies for the Arizona Association of Chiefs
of Police said this legislation does more than excuse inadvertent
violations.

(You are emboldening people not to get a CCW permit. Why? This
isn't a simple change. You're taking this from a Class 1
misdemeanor to a petty offense. That means that a person who
steals a candy bar is subject to a higher penalty than a person
who will be in violation of this statute.)

Stealing a candy bar could land someone in jail for six months.
This measure would set the maximum penalty for carrying a
concealed weapon without a permit at no more than a $300 fine.

For Arizona Public Radio, this is Howard Fischer.