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Almost, Arizona: Jan Brewer Vetoes Gun Rights Laws

Written By | Apr 24, 2014

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2014 — Yesterday saw two pro-gun rights bills die beneath the veto pen of Arizona governor Jan Brewer. The two laws she iced would have been tremendous victories for the gun-rights camp, another amid a rather long string of recent events which have given Second Amendment Supporters some steam.

One of the laws that felt the axe of the Arizona governor, a self-described “strong proponent of the Second Amendment” was a provision banning local lawmakers from even attempting to further restrict gun laws in the state. The provision even called for jail time.

The second law, and arguably the most important one, was legislation that would allow for citizens with concealed carry permits to enter armed into government buildings that were not secured. If the building has a security checkpoint, then citizens would be required to leave their guns in their cars or at home.

Arizona is not alone in their desire for such legislation. Yesterday Georgia signed into law that allowed for armed citizens to enter un-secure government buildings. Florida is another state that has provisions which allow citizens the same rights.

This kind of law is interesting, especially given the reasoning behind it in the words of one of its supporters.

Charles Heller, spokesman for the Arizona Citizens Defense League, stated that the provision proposed so that people could blatantly carry wherever they wanted without restriction, but instead to stop a massacre. The reasoning behind this is that in government buildings without security checkpoints, or armed guards, the government would allow for people to being their guns into the building in an effort to protect themselves should a shooting occur. The law, in every instance it has been proposed, states that if there is an armed security checkpoint then individuals no longer have the right to carry because the threat of an armed attack is substantially lower.

As the law did in Georgia, and if the bill was passed in Arizona, it would have forced the government of Arizona to admit that they cannot be universally responsible for the safety of their citizens at all time, and that if the state makes no provisions to secure their safety the people are charged with securing their own.

This is a monumental step forward, even though it did not pass in Arizona, in terms of government recognition of the people’s right to self-defense.

The fact that it was supported by the Arizona legislature means that this was the prevailing ideology within an elected government body.

This is cause for pause and analysis.

With the exception of recent laws passed in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, few states have established this tenant of government/citizen self-defense.

If we cannot help you, you have to help yourself.

The potential consequences of this are staggering. The fact that several governments in mostly Red states have established a precedent for not only admitting but cementing the ideals that the individual is ultimately responsible for their own defense outside of the bubble of established government protection can potentially lead to a wide array of changes in the way that government sees the citizens. As stated before, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina already have similar laws on the books, and now Arizona is seeking to follow suit. But since the legislative session ended this morning at 2am, they will have to wait until the next session to bring this particular issue back up.

But this trend, in recognizing the right of the individual to defend themselves in the absence of traditional security in government buildings, is starkly contrasted by efforts in more liberal states to establish a statewide monopoly on force. Of course, since national gun control failed to pass last year, states have taken it upon themselves to ride the wave of tragedy to restrict the rights of their citizens to bear arms.

It is not just restriction in terms of physical ownership, but gun owners themselves are being reduced to the tiers of second class citizens or even potential criminals. In Connecticut and New York, hundreds of thousands of individuals were made criminals overnight for refusing to register their newly dubbed “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines, all because the governments of those states perceive their owners as potential criminals. In Maryland a man has been charged with murder for defending his home against an attacker trying to hurt his family. In Illinois the legislature is attempting to find ways to limit the newly passed concealed carry provisions as to prohibit people from protecting themselves anywhere they go.

These states do not want an armed citizenry, they want compliance and subjugation. They ride the waves of tragedies, and they pass laws under the guise of public safety which do not make the public safer, they simply make them more vulnerable.

With one exception, each mass shooting in recent memory has taken place in a gun free zone.

Yet to many, guns are the problem.

These tragedies are what the legislators in many states are trying to avoid when they trust the citizens to defend themselves in places where the government has no security presence. Placing more legal obstacles in the way of potential shooters who are about to break the law is horribly ineffective. Restrictions and prohibitive laws do nothing but tie the hands of those who have no intention of breaking the law anyway.

But the law, which Governor Jan Brewer vetoed, would provide a tangible manner with which law abiding individuals can protect themselves when the government cannot. These are the provisions and steps we need to be taking.

Ideas, laws, restrictions, all of these things which result from the emotional response of a shooting do nothing but further endanger people. They do nothing but leave them defenseless. The laws which recognize the right of the individual to protect themselves when the government cannot or will not is the only way to deter potential shooters.

Hopefully, more states will begin to adopt legislation such as this. The right of the individual to protect themselves has already been upheld by McDonald vs. Chicago, but the effort to get the government to trust in the people to be responsible, law-abiding gun owners is in Icarian struggle that can only and most effectively be fought on the state level.

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Conor Higgins

Conor Higgins has a BA from Catholic University in DC and an MA form George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, both in history. When he not getting his hands dirty in 2nd Amendment and firearms news he is doing his best to take a crack at some drive-by political analysis. And every now and then he may or may not review a low end bourbon for the tax write off. Sit back, relax, and enjoy Back Porch Politics.