Legislature sends Supervisors a message - citizens' right to bear arms shall not be impaired

I'm not really sure where the state legislature found its huevos, but found them it has.

For once a group of state legislators has listened to the citizens - who have a right to vote - and passed not one or two bills, but a series of significant bills that challenge rogue government entities from the federal level to the local level.

The latest blow from the legislature came from the state Senate on Tuesday when it overwhelmingly passed HB 2629 with a vote of 22-7-1.

On the heels of the governor signing legislation to permit state and local authorities to arrest illegal aliens, the legislature fired a salvo across the bow of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.

HB 2629, now known as the "self-defense, political subdivisions, weapons records" bill, makes it abundantly clear that Mohave County government may not even take down the names of people who check weapons into lockers at county-owned facilities.

In case the Board misses it, here is the section of the bill aimed specifically at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors:

"Sec. 2. Section 13-3108, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:

"C. A political subdivision of this state shall not require or maintain a record in any form, whether permanent or temporary, including a list, log or database, of any of the following:

"1. Any identifying information of a person who leaves a weapon in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event, except that the operator of the establishment or the sponsor of the event may require that a person provide a government issued identification or a reasonable copy of a government issued identification for the purpose of establishing ownership of the weapon. The operator or sponsor shall store any provided identification with the weapon and shall return the identification to the person when the weapon is retrieved. The operator or sponsor shall not retain records or copies of any identification provided pursuant to this paragraph after the weapon is retrieved.

"2. Except in the course of a law enforcement investigation, any identifying information of a person who purchases, sells or transfers a firearm, unless the transaction involves a federally licensed firearms dealer.

"3. The description, including the serial number, of a weapon that is left in temporary storage at any public establishment or public event."

The bill now goes back to the House because the Senate made some changes, but the House passed it overwhelmingly (57-0-2)the first time.

This Board of Supervisors is out of line. It has been out of line since that fateful day when it decided to let Sen. John McCain campaign inside the County Building and to curtail citizens' First Amendment rights on their own property. Yes, the county building does not belong to the Board of Supervisors or the County Manager. It belongs to the citizens and taxpayers of Mohave County.

That aside, it has been arguable whether the county is violating the law by requiring visitors to provide their name, identifying information, make, model, type, caliber and serial number of their checked firearms at the county building.

The legislature clearly is not going to wait around for a court suit. It will send the message loud and clear - unless it is in the course of a criminal investigation it will be a direct violation of state law to take any identifying information regarding the owner or firearms of checked firearms at government offices.

It took that step one further already. The governor has already signed the firearms preemption bill. That bill states that no political subdivision may enact any law or rule regarding firearms - that the state legislature is the only entity that has the authority to regulate firearms in Arizona.

And speaking of huevos - the governor already signed a bill that tells the federal government it has no right to regulate firearms made, sold and kept within the borders of Arizona.

If you want an idea of how much this legislature is standing up for the rights of the citizens of Arizona there are more examples. SB 1153 passed the Senate 19-9-2. That is the knife preemption bill that says only the state - not cities or counties - may regulate knives.

As one who follows the legislature quite closely, I am stunned.

Never in my life have I seen a state governing body and a governor pass such a quantity of meaningful bills to protect the rights of its citizens.

And, oh yeah, back to HB 2629, it eliminates the need to retreat before defending yourself, your family or the lives of others if they are in imminent danger.

It says:

"A. A person is justified in threatening or using deadly physical force against another:

"1. If such person would be justified in threatening or using physical force against the other under section 13 404, and

"2. When and to the degree a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful deadly physical force."

Let us not forget the Constitutional Carry bill the governor signed into law less than a fortnight ago. This legislature recognized that the state Constitution guarantees that "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired." SB 1108 removed all penalties for a law-abiding U.S. citizen who chooses to carry a concealed weapon.

The key words are "law-abiding citizen."

Convicted felons are forbidden from possessing a firearm. Non-citizens may not carry a concealed weapon even if they are permitted to possess the weapon. Illegal aliens can simply add more charges to the laundry list the state of Arizona can use to attack the so called "immigration" problem if they choose to carry a concealed weapon.

Laws are not really much of a deterrent to criminals. If they were there would not be so many criminals - or laws.

But, if someone commits a crime while carrying concealed they can add six months in jail and a $2,500 fine to their sentence - because they were not law-abiding citizens while carrying a concealed weapon.

The difference between the Board of Supervisors and the state legislature this year is like night and day. The Board wants to exercise more and more control of the citizens and the legislature wants the citizens to more fully exercise their rights.

I can hardly wait for the new batch of laws to take affect late this summer.

And, I know who will be getting my votes in the fall elections. It will be the people who trust the citizens of the Great State of Arizona.

Thank you Governor Brewer.

I had the opportunity to thank Sen. Gould and Rep. Goodale for their votes personally at the annual Friends of the NRA dinner recently because I was seated at the same table. I'll be sending out notes of appreciation to the governor and to Rep. McLain shortly.

If you feel like thanking them as well, you can e-mail the Governor from her Web site http://azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp and Sen. Gould at rgould@azleg.gov; Rep. Goodale at dgoodale@azleg.gov and Rep. McLain at nmclain@azleg.gov

Ric Swats is a state certified Concealed Weapons Permit instructor, Armed Security Guard instructor and is an NRA certified handgun and personal defense instructor. He may be reached at ric@motherroadfirearms.com