143 comments by Kevin Kiley – Jul. 29, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Today is the day gun-rights advocates have had in their sights for a long time.
Starting today, Arizona residents at least 21 years old can carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
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The change is part of a broad weapons law by state Sen. Russell Pearce passed by the state Legislature in April that eases restrictions on concealed carry and stiffens penalties for committing a crime while carrying a concealed weapon.
The law is one of many passed by the state Legislature this past session that go into effect today.
Arizona joins Alaska and Vermont as the only states to allow concealed weapons without a permit.
However, the impact of the law is likely to be different in Arizona than those states because Arizona’s population is much larger and because the state has major metropolitan areas.
“It’s one thing to carry a loaded weapon in public when your closest neighbor is a mile or 5 miles away,” said Brian Malte, director of state legislation for the Brady Campaign, an interest group that lobbies for gun regulations. “It’s a very different situation when you’re in a densely-populated urban environment.”
But that lack of precedent makes it difficult to predict the law’s impact.
Opponents say that without permitting and training, individuals might place themselves in situations where they might break the law or hurt themselves and others.
Proponents say that concealed carry is not substantially different from open carry, which the state already allows without a permit, and that the new law simply lets law-abiding citizens carry weapons in whatever way is most comfortable.
The law has already created changes for the firearms community, local businesses and police departments. It has also galvanized gun-rights groups to seek further deregulation