gun control

Arizona’s New Gun Laws

Although Arizona has been deemed one of the most lenient states on gun control, new gun laws are still difficult to navigate and if not followed correctly, consequences can be severe.

How will Arizona’s new gun laws affect citizens?
Governor Doug Ducey recently signed two new gun bills which go into effect on August 6, 2017, one allowing guns to be closer in range to schools and the other, discipling cities with harsher gun laws than Arizona’s.

What is Senate Bill 1266?
This bill states that opposing local regulations which go against Arizona’s statute to withhold the power of regulating firearms within the state’s counties and cities will allow courts to fine those counties and cities up to $50,000. The individual involved can sue a county or city and be awarded up to $100,000 in damages.

What is House Bill 2338?
This bill denies K -12 all the way up to university school governing boards from “banning someone from legally possessing a deadly weapon on a public right of way adjacent to campus,” according to AZCentral.

While the state’s new gun laws may seem simple, the slightest mistake can result in trouble and in Arizona, weapon possession charges are prosecuted aggressively.

Weapons charges include:

  • Concealing a weapon illegally
  • Possessing a firearm or other weapon illegally
  • Prohibited possessor under Arizona law
  • Using a firearm or other weapon during a crime

In the state of Arizona, an experienced criminal defense attorney is necessary when it comes to weapon possession.

Why?

  • The knowledge and experience of an Arizona criminal defense lawyer who has dealt with similar cases is crucial in fighting for the best outcome.
  • You need a criminal defense lawyer who will protect your rights along the way.
  • Consequences can be severe including:
  • Expensive fines
  • Jail time
  • Prison

Our criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience defending weapons charges in Arizona. Schedule your free consultation today and let us help you. Call (480) 471- 4616.

A Legal Perspective on the Government’s New Gun Plan

A new gun plan was recently presented by the government, proposing new rules and increased regulations for gun control. Despite political differences on the freedoms of gun control, the legal perspective of gun laws is separate, important topic.

Here’s a summary of what these new, potential gun laws could mean legally.

The proposed requirements seek to change the status of a “gun dealer”. A gun dealer will no longer be categorized by the number of armed weapons they sell but instead by the “totality of the circumstances”, looking to change the way in which firearms are sold, according to The Wall Street Journal.

According to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the new rule is focused on those selling guns online saying, “It’s really an internet loophole. Gun sales are moving online.”

Will this be fair to certain individuals? If prosecuted for not following the regulation due to disagreeing with the proposed status, one has the opportunity to present the government’s criteria as that of “too vague”.

Assessing the mental health of a person prior to them purchasing a gun is another key factor in the proposed plan. The White House stated the Social Security Administration will implement regulations, working to help the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) distinguish those who have mental health concerns, preventing them from purchasing a gun.

The problem here is this piece would require new laws, not just new regulations. Additionally, those who would be identified as mentally ill, might be wrongfully identified at that, resulting in an entirely separate issue of taking away the rights of those who should be allowed the right the purchase a firearm.

Lastly, The White House seeks to fix the current problem of those bypassing restrictions, purchasing guns through trusts and corporations.

Lynch addressed this in saying, “The trust loophole is something we’ve been looking into for a long time.” Legally, despite stronger restrictions and regulations with this type of ruling, a person who fits into this category but still wants to purchase a firearm could go to court to challenge their purchasing status.

As this complex, proposed new gun plan arrives, Texas too is adjusting to a new normal, Open Carry. The new gun has caught many Texans off guard, especially causing confusion for Texas law enforcement.

Kevin Lawrence, executive director of of the Texas Municipal Police Association said, “ What authorities do the officers have? We need to get that clarified as much as possible so the officers know what’s expected of them going into any given situation.”

In these situations, where a new and different law is now active, it takes time to understand how things will work. With others besides law enforcement exposing open firearms, citizens wonder the intention of each gun holder. The new law has also forced businesses to make a decision on whether they allow those carrying openly in their stores.

If a business chooses to not allow guns inside their doors, they must post a 30.07 sign, banning handguns on their property.

Some business have adapted other regulations, such as Walmart, where when employees see someone openly carrying a gun, they must tell their manager who then asks the gun holder to see their paperwork.

Overall, as the nation sees changes in gun laws, it’s important for citizens to recognize and understand their rights.

How Will Campus Carry Impact You?

Ever since the Campus Carry bill was signed into law in June, we’ve discussed how this controversial piece of legislature is being received. The law allows those who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses. As expected, not all Texans are showing their support.

University of Texas professor Daniel Hamermesh recently sent University President Gregory Fenves his letter of resignation due to the new law. Hamermesh strongly believes this law will not only bring more danger and violence to campuses, but specifically to his classroom, a large auditorium of more than 400 students.

In Hamermesh’s letter to Fenves he states, “I cannot believe that I am the only potential or current faculty member who is aware of and disturbed by this heightened risk.” He also believes the new law will make recruiting students and staff to attend and teach at the University of Texas much more challenging.

In ending the letter, Professor Hamermesh touches on one of the University’s most important aspects – its reputation. “Applying this law broadly will detract from the…national and international reputation of this University.”

While Hamermesh feels the risk of gun violence is now enhanced, he’s not the only one who has voiced his opinion publicly on the matter. Several student groups and other Texas professors have spoken out about the potential dangers this new law could bring.

On the other hand some say that students are already bringing concealed weapons onto campuses, this law is just making it legal. Texas state representative Allen Fletcher (R-Cypress) stated that even though those on campus are not allowed to do so, they already carry concealed weapons on them because it is legal outside of campus.

Big business is also getting involved, including national fast food chain Whataburger.

Campus Carry is set to go into effect at the start of the year on January 1, 2016. A separate license will not be required for those who already have licenses to carry a concealed weapon and no additional fee will be charged.

Gun Violence in America – Are Mass Shootings on the Rise?

For Americans, it’s a basic right to bear arms, but at what cost? The U.S. has a significant number of gun-related deaths each year, including an increase in mass shootings.

This type of public, violent crime takes place every two weeks on average, according to Sherry Towers, a research professor at Arizona State University. She estimates 20 to 30 percent are inspired by previous attacks. This is triple the number of public mass shootings since 2011.

When it comes to the total number of firearm-related deaths in America, some of the most striking statistics revolve around how common these deaths are compared to other countries around the world.

When compared to Canada, Australia or France, Americans are 10 times more likely to be killed by a gun, according to David Hemenway, professor of public health at Harvard School of Public Health.

In fact, more than 30,000 people are killed by guns across the country every year, and this number is considered a low estimate due to the fact that many gun-related deaths are unaccounted for as some shootings slip through the cracks and are not reported by the Centers for Disease Control.

How is this possible? One argument could be the availability of guns in the U.S.

In Arizona, for example, state law mandates that any resident over the age of 21 who is not a prohibited possessor may purchase a gun from a retailer and carry a weapon openly or concealed without a license.

They must undergo and pass a federal background check, unless they already have a permit or license, when purchasing from a retailer, but that’s not the only way to obtain a gun.

Firearms are often sold privately, auctioned, passed down or acquired illegally, which are all processes that don’t require background checks or licensing.

As a result of this increase, gun control laws are being questioned by Americans. After the mass shooting in Oregon, CNN released a poll that found 52 percent of people in the U.S. are opposed to stricter gun control.

Will these numbers inspire lawmakers to revisit current laws? That remains to be seen.

Legislation Proposed to Keep Mentally Ill From Buying Guns

Lawmakers are wrestling with keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill, but in doing so they walk a fine line between public safety and gun control.

Measures have been taken by members of Congress to prevent mass gun violence by preventing the mentally ill from purchasing guns and increasing police training on how to handle mental health crises.

Recently, new bills have come forth to reexamine current gun laws and the mental health aspect of current background checks used for prospective gun owners – but don’t call these bills gun control restrictions.

Although these efforts deal with guns and who gets to use them, Congress has had little success moving forward with gun control reform, so representatives are focusing instead on mental health reform and improving background checks.

“It’s not about what’s in their hand; it’s about what’s in their mind,” Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), a practicing psychologist and chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations said during a recent interview in the Washington Post.

“If guns caused mental illness, then we would treat that; mental illness needs to be treated, and it is not,” Murphy said.

Recent tragedies involving mentally ill offenders, like the Isla Vista shooting in California and previous mass shooting incidents in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut have signaled red flags to lawmakers that mental and behavioral issues of the people behind these tragedies desperately need to be addressed.

Under current federal statute, people with mental illnesses are only prevented from buying guns if they have been involuntarily institutionalized or if they have been deemed as mentally ill by a judge, The Hill reports.

This statute is too vague to keep many mentally ill people from buying guns, including the Isla Vista gunman Elliot Rodger, 22, who had a history of mental illness, but didn’t meet the criteria to warrant an involuntary hold (which would have deemed him unfit to buy a gun) by authorities despite alerts to police made by Rodger’s parents, the Hill reports.

Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) has proposed a bill that will add another preventative step to the gun purchasing process to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. Cicilline’s legislation would prevent those who have been determined by a mental health professional to cause harm to themselves or others from purchasing guns.

Representatives Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) and Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) have also proposed a bill to expand the list of people prohibited from buying guns to include more mental health patients and convicted criminals, like spousal abusers and stalkers, according to The Hill.

In June, the House increased funding for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, (NICS) by $19.5 million to help states enforce current laws used to determine which records should be entered into the background check system.

In Arizona, and other states including Ohio and Missouri, training of police officers on how to manage crisis situations involving the mentally ill has increased so that law enforcement and behavioral health professionals can work together in an emergency.

The 40-hour Phoenix Police Department training program will discuss how to defuse crisis situations and how to get the mentally ill the proper treatment from the behavioral health system rather than the criminal justice system when needed, Crisis Intervention Training Coordinator for the Phoenix Police Department Nick Margiotta said in an interview with KJZZ.

Rather than focusing on the firearms themselves, the mental health of the people buying and operating them are gaining attention in hopes of preventing gun violence and mass shootings.