Federal appeals court ruling against concealed weapons to have no impact in Arizona

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 22:42:58-04

A federal appeals court ruling Thursday that said people don't have a Second Amendment right to carry a concealed weapon applies to Arizona but will have no effect in the state because its laws grant a broad right to carry guns.

The ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says law enforcement officials can require concealed weapons permit applicants to show they have a good reason for a permit beyond self-defense.

Arizona law allows anyone 21 and over to carry a concealed weapon without a permit if they're otherwise legally allowed to own a gun.

In addition, Arizona law covering concealed weapons permits requires the Department of Public Safety to issue them to anyone 21 and over who's legally able to own a gun if they complete a safety course.

Republican state Senate President Andy Biggs said the 9th Circuit ruling was typical of the court that covers nine Western states and is often assailed by conservatives for its rulings.

He said in a statement that it was just another liberal opinion that impedes the rights of law-abiding citizens.

"The 9th Circuit Court covers about 20 percent of the United States population and its overwhelming amount of cases does not provide the people of Arizona a fair shot at justice," Biggs said.

Some Arizona Democrats also say the ruling may go too far.

Sen. Steve Farley of Tucson said the Second Amendment gives people the right to defend themselves in public, and the ruling might put that right in jeopardy. He said the time would be better spent expanding background checks to include gun shows.

Farley also said the ruling lacks practicality.

"The decision is independent of reality," Farley said. "They make decisions on the letter and spirit of the law, but don't necessarily deal with the implications."

Any future law trying to limit concealed carry in Arizona would require a change in the state Constitution, which states a citizen's right to bear arms "shall not be impaired."

There are currently more than 270,000 concealed weapons permit holders in Arizona, about 4 percent of state residents.