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Lawmakers build on state’s reputation as a great place to own guns

2A620Guns and Ammo Magazine didn’t name Arizona the best place to live for gun owners for nothing.

Republican lawmakers have consistently deregulated gun ownership, making it possible to have more people carrying guns in more places with less training.  That all adds up to some of the most relaxed gun laws in the country, which the magazine cited when putting out its 2013 analysis of state gun laws.

And 2014 is shaping up to be no different.

The Republican majority has approved bills to:

• Allow younger people to obtain concealed weapons permits.

• Make it a felony to try to take someone’s gun away and use it against that person.

• Allow concealed weapons permit holders to bring their guns into public buildings such as libraries and convention centers.

• Allow judges to bring their guns to court with them.

That’s just a few of the gun measures approved by the Legislature so far this year.

But Republican leaders in the Legislature have also drawn some red lines.

A bill that would have allowed concealed weapons permit holders to bring guns into universities and community colleges was one of a handful of measures that were never assigned to committee. And a bill expanding the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law was never heard in committee.

This year, even Democrats supported a Republican-sponsored bill that would allow bars to ban police from carrying their guns while drinking at the bar.

Here is a look at some of the gun bills lawmakers have approved this year, and a few that didn’t make it.

APPROVED

Military benefit

Bill: HB2103 (concealed carry permit; qualifications)

Status: Passed both chambers, ready for governor’s action

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Kelly Townsend

Description: Would allow an applicant who is at least 19 years of age, instead of the required 21 years of age, to qualify for a concealed weapons permit if the applicant provides evidence of current military service or proof of honorable discharge from the U.S. armed forces, reserves or a state National Guard.

Drawing the line in bars

Bill: HB2336 (firearms; law enforcement officer)

Status: Passed both chambers, ready for governor’s action

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Brenda Barton

Description: Would allow a peace officer or retired peace officer to be prohibited from carrying a firearm when consuming alcohol at any licensed liquor establishment.

Defining assault

Bill: HB2338 (aggravated assault; firearm)

Status: Passed both chambers, ready for governor’s action

Sponsor: Barton

Description: Would expand the circumstances under which the commission of assault becomes aggravated assault to include if the person knowingly takes or attempts to exercise control over a person’s lawfully possessed firearm with the intent to cause harm.

Guns in public buildings

Bill: HB2339 (firearms; permit holders; public places)

Status: Passed both chambers, ready for governor’s action

Sponsor: Barton

Description: Would allow carrying a deadly weapon at a public establishment or event if the person possesses a valid concealed weapons permit. The bill does not apply to public establishments or events that have security personnel and electronic weapons screening devices and that require each person carrying a deadly weapon to leave it in possession of the security personnel while the person is in the establishment or event. It also does not apply to educational institutions, including community colleges, public universities, or the licensed premises of any public establishment with a liquor license.

Guns for court officials

Bill: SB1266 (misconduct involving weapons; judicial officer)

Status: Passed both chambers, ready for governor’s action

Sponsor: Republican Sen. Steve Pierce

Description: Would expand the list of persons exempt from the prohibition on carrying a deadly weapon in specified circumstances, including in public buildings, to include an elected or appointed judicial officer in the court facility where the judicial officer works, except that the judicial officer is required to comply with any rule or policy promulgated by the presiding judge of the Superior Court while in the court facility.

DEAD OR STALLED

Guns in colleges

Bill: HB2186 (community colleges; universities; concealed weapons)

Status: Not assigned to committee

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Carl Seel

Description: Would allow faculty members with concealed weapons permits to possess a concealed firearm on the grounds of a community college or university.

Expanding “stand your ground’’

Bill: HB2209 (justification; self defense; sentencing)

Status: Stalled in House Government Committee

Sponsor: Republican Rep. Sonny Borrelli

Description: Would have expanded the circumstances under which a person is justified in threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force against another to include when it is “immediately necessary” to protect himself, a third person or property. A person’s reasonable belief that force is immediately necessary would not need to be the sole motivation for the person’s threat or use of physical force or deadly physical force. A person who is lawfully in a place would have no duty to retreat before threatening or using physical force or deadly physical force. The possibility of retreat could not be considered in determining whether the use of force, or its extent, was necessary or whether the person who used force had a reasonable belief that the use was necessary.

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