The Arizona House on Thursday approved a bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. If the governor signs it, Arizona would be the third state in the nation to allow people to hide their guns without first obtaining state permission.
The chances of Gov. Jan Brewer signing the legislation appear good. The bill's sponsor, State Sen. Russell Pearce, said he made changes to the bill based on suggestions from Brewer's office, indicating she is in favor of the measure.
If she does indeed sign it, Arizona would join Alaska and Vermont as the only states allowing concealed weapons without permits. Forty-five states allow for concealed weapons, but a permit is required. Illinois and Wisconsin ban the carrying of hidden guns altogether.
Opponents say it would make it easier for criminals to carry guns, endangering police. However, supporters point out criminals hide their guns anyway, regardless of the law. They say this will only affect law-abiding citizens who may want to conceal their weapons for whatever reason.
Prospective gun owners would still have to pass a federal background check in order to purchase a gun in the first place, so that protection is still in place. But still, some lawmakers insist it is a dangerous practice to allow everyone to carry a concealed gun.
"We wouldn't give people driver's licenses without requiring training or testing. Why would we give people the ability to carry a concealed weapon anywhere?" said Rep. Steve Farley.