The Arizona Senate on Tuesday gave initial approval to four major pro-gun bills that Republicans said are necessary to protect 2nd Amendment rights.
The bills have had wide Republican support but Democratic opposition as they made their way through both chambers.
The bills include:
— House Bill 2339 would allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons into government buildings unless security measures — including armed guards, metal detectors and gun lockers — are in place. The measure, by Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, excludes public K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill last year.
Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said that requirements to obtain a concealed-carry permit are too whittled down to be effective, and that the bill would be costly for Arizona cities and towns.
“I would not have such a big argument on this bill if we had (a) strict (concealed-carry weapons permit) requirement where folks are required to have proper training. Not only do we have a bill that allows pretty much anyone to obtain a CCW permit, we now have a bill that’s really costly to government,” Gallardo said.
— House Bill 2338 would allow authorities to charge a person who’s accused of wresting a gun away from someone else with aggravated assault. Doing so is already a felony offense. Proponents said it is a preventative measure in case a criminal were to take the gun of someone using it in self-defense. Democrats said the measure is a waste of time because it rehashes what’s already a crime. The bill was also sponsored by Barton.
— House Bill 2517, sponsored by Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, would impose fines on cities, towns and their lawmakers who enforce gun ordinances more strictly than the state’s own laws. The bill would impose a civil penalty of up to $5,000 on city and town governments that violate the statute. It would also allow the state to sue individual government officials, such as city councilors, and would prohibit them from using public funds to defend themselves in court.
— House Bill 2483 would ban cities, counties and towns from restricting the shooting of guns on private property. The bill was sponsored by Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills.
Senators must still cast a roll-call vote on all bills.