In 1818, President James Monroe wrote, “The right to self-defense never ceases. It is among the most sacred, and alike necessary to nations and to individuals.” In today’s world, where random terror attacks are fast becoming the new normal, and where everyday citizens are more likely to become both victim and hero, Monroe’s words are especially true.
Recently, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio reminded us all of a truth that is understood but rarely considered or discussed – while first responders like police officers respond to emergencies in courageous fashion, they are rarely on the scene at the moment the crisis occurs in a way that allows them to prevent it or minimize the damage done.
In the end, the responsibility for keeping us safe lies where it always has – with ourselves. It remains the responsibility of ordinary citizens to look after themselves and each other. And as Sheriff Arpaio pointed out, the first line of defense against today’s attacks includes the more than 250,000 Arizonans who have spent the time, taken the classes, demonstrated proficiency, and passed the background check necessary to qualify for a Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) Permit.
Logically, it follows that the more Arizonan gun owners who care enough to invest the time and effort to take the classes and look after themselves and each other, the better and safer we will all be. That is why I believe the state of Arizona should take a small and inexpensive step to encourage more Arizonans to get their CCW permit – creating a minimal $80 tax credit to cover the cost of the class. This small step has a low cost but a great reward. It will highlight and promote a successful self-defense program that has operated in Arizona for years. It will encourage more Arizonans to learn how to safely and responsibly operate a handgun, especially in a crisis situation. It will increase the personal safety of thousands of men and women each year. And it will increase the number of Arizonans who are properly equipped to deal with a crisis that happens wherever they are.
The newspapers are full of stories where the timely exercise of our Second Amendment rights have prevented tragedy, saved lives, and taken violent criminals off of our streets. Arizona is already the best state in the country for Second Amendment freedoms. Now it is time to encourage more Arizonans to take the steps they ought to take to protect themselves in the face of today’s “new normal.”
I’m pleased that House Majority Leader Steve Montenegro likes this idea and has agreed to run a bill to create this tax credit, and I urge lawmakers from both parties to support this commonsense measure that
a) increases both the gun safety and proficiency of Arizonans, and b) better protects the general public against the random acts of violence that will otherwise destroy lives and families.
— Constantin Querard is an Arizona-based political consultant and long-time CCW permit holder.