Pro-gun legislation prompted by Mohave County Board's firearms policy

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors' recent firearms ban in the County Building is already having some unexpected consequences.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed HB 2629 with a "strike everything" amendment that prohibits political subdivisions from maintaining records relating to the transfer or storage of firearms.

Simply put, the law specifies that it will be illegal to retain any records on "checked" firearms or their owners by any city or county officials or departments.

Mohave County Manager Ron Walker was, and may still be, keeping records on firearms checked into secure storage at the county building. HB 2629 is making its way through the Legislature specifically in response to Walker's actions.

"This amendment arose from reports of Mohave County being overly exuberant in recording information on people who are required to store their firearms in public buildings," according to a news release Monday from the Arizona Citizen's Defense League.

The bill still has a fairly long path ahead before it ends up on the governor's desk, but it is clear the Legislature is not happy Mohave County officials took down the make, model, serial number and owner's name and address on many handguns that have been checked in since the Board instituted its rule banning handgun possession in the County Building.

GOVERNOR SIGNS TWO KEY PRO-GUN BILLS

Governor Jan Brewer on Monday signed HB 2543 and HB 2307 into law.

HB 2307 puts Arizona in line with Montana and a handful of other states challenging federal authority to regulate firearms.

The bill exempts firearms manufactured in Arizona and sold in Arizona from federal law or regulation as long as they remain in Arizona.

Arizona is the sixth state to pass the Firearms Freedom Act. The bill helps set the stage for some interesting court action as states try to assert state's rights under the Constitution and the Federal government claims it has the right to regulate firearms as it sees fit anywhere in the nation. About 20 more states are contemplating passing similar bills and likely joining into what promises to be an almost certain court fight that will end up at the Supreme Court level.

NEW LAW PREEMPTS LOCAL GUN REGULATIONS

The other firearms bill the governor signed on Monday is known as the Firearms Preemption law. It strengthens state firearms preemption law and restricts even further political subdivisions from local regulations. It prohibits cities and counties from passing regulations on the storage of firearms, ammunition and accessories.

It further negates some local regulations that prohibited carrying a firearm in a public park without a concealed carry permit.

HB2543 and HB 2307 will become law 90 days after the Legislature officially adjourns. Typically, bills signed at this time of year become law around September.

CONCEALED CARRY BILL ON HOLD

HB 2347, the House bill that would allow carrying of concealed weapons without a permit, is "engrossed." That means that it is the final version of the bill and is awaiting a third read and a final vote.

The bill would allow the carrying of a concealed weapon by a legal owner without the current Concealed Weapons Permit now required.

The House, however, is expected to make the third read of the already-passed SB 1108 which is an identical bill that was overwhelmingly passed by the state Senate.

If either bill becomes law there will still be a concealed weapons permit system in the state, but most people, under most circumstances, won't have to be concerned about breaking the law if a jacket happens to cover a sidearm or a woman wants to carry a pistol in her purse.

Arizona is likely to join Vermont and Alaska as the only states to permit concealed carry without a permit. Iowa has a similar bill in its legislature and several other states are pondering similar laws.

HUNTING AND FISHING AMENDMENT

In further action, HCR 2008, an amendment to the state Constitution guaranteeing the right to hunt and fish in Arizona, made it out of the Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee on Monday. If approved by the legislature HCR 2008 will go on the ballot for the state's voters to approve.

Ric Swats is a state certified Concealed Weapons and Armed Security Guard instructor and an NRA certified handgun instructor. He is the Chief Instructor of Mother Road Firearms and may be reached at ric@motherroadfirearms.com