By Jacob Sullum
In addition to "the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik blamed Arizona's gun laws for Saturday's shooting rampage in Tucson. "I have never been a proponent of letting everybody in this state carry weapons under any circumstances that they want," Dupnik said at a news conference yesterday, "and that's almost where we are." He called Arizona "the Tombstone of the United States." Taking its lead from Dupnik, The Washington Postexplains just how wacky Arizona's gun regulations are:
Arizona gun laws, which have been criticized by gun-control groups, permit any law-abiding resident older than 18 to buy or possess a firearm. To buy a handgun, as opposed to a rifle or shotgun, federal law requires the buyer to be at least 21....
Guns are permitted almost everywhere in the state except a business or doctor's office. The state rifle association lists restaurants that permit concealed weapons. Guns are permissible inside the state Capitol and many other public buildings.
State law permits gun owners to carry a concealed weapon into establishments that serve alcohol as long as the gun owner isn't imbibing. Concealed guns are permitted on school grounds while picking up or dropping off a child, as long as the weapon is unloaded and the gun owner remains in a vehicle....
Arizona gun laws were relaxed further in 2010 when Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a National Rifle Association-backed bill repealing a state law requiring gun owners to have a permit to carry a concealed weapon. State law now permits anyone 21 or older and legally qualified to own a firearm to carry the weapon without a concealed-to-carry permit.
The logic here may be even harder to follow than the reasoning that links the Tucson murders to Sarah Palin. If Arizona did not allow law-abiding adults to carry guns in public, how would that have deterred a man bent on assassinating a member of Congress in a Safeway parking lot.