Although the state already is known for its liberal gun laws, Arizona gun rights advocates are hoping for even fewer restrictions on where they can have a firearm, reports the Associated Press. Among their top goals is to make Arizona the third state where it is legal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. Bills in the House and the Senate would also eliminate background checks and training classes for people to carry hidden guns. A spokeswoman for the Violence Policy Center called the proposal “sheer insanity,” adding, “If you remove the background check requirement, you're literally writing a death sentence for law enforcement officers, family members, just people in the street.”
But supporters say criminals will carry concealed weapons regardless of the law, so gun restrictions affect only law-abiding citizens. “All we're doing is handcuffing good people, restricting their constitutional, God-given right to carry and perhaps their ability to defend their families,” said State Sen. Russell Pearce, a Republican sponsoring the bill. The bill comes a year after Arizona eased gun restrictions, giving people the option of carrying a weapon into a bar or restaurant unless the establishment has banned firearms. It also comes amid a national trend of states loosening gun laws. In 2009, states passed 47 laws easing restrictions, more than three times the number of new laws tightening them. Forty-eight states allow people to carry a concealed weapon; all but Alaska and Vermont require a permit.