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

(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.