Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- A rational gun safety bill is moving forward in the Arizona legislature. The bill would repeal the requirement for armed Arizonans to unload, then reload, their firearms every time they drive onto school grounds to pick up their child. From tucson.com:
He pointed out that existing law already permits adults — anyone 18 and older — to drive onto public school campuses with a gun in the vehicle. And if the person leaves the vehicle, the firearm has to be stored out of sight and the vehicle must be locked.
The only difference, Farnsworth said, is that current law requires that the gun be unloaded before reaching the school, a requirement HB 2693 would eliminate.
As legislatures across the country move to repeal infringements on the Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms, the process is messy and intermittent. Arizona restored Constitutional Carry in 2010. As with most such bills, compromises were made to repeal 98% of the restrictions.
The Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Heller defined “schools” as “sensitive areas” where arms could be regulated. This unfortunate inclusion, attributed to former Justice Kennedy, gave force to arguments to keep some infringements in place. The requirement that guns in vehicles on school parking lots, driveways, and other areas, under the control of an adult, had to be unloaded, was not repealed.
The law creates a bizarre dynamic. If you exercise your Second Amendment rights in Arizona, and are going to pick up your kids at school, you have to stop, unload your self defense gun, then pick them up. After they are picked up, if you wish to exercise your rights, you have to stop, load your self defense gun, then continue.
The situation was thrust upon me one day. I was visiting a friend, who said he had to run some errands. Would I like to continue the conversation and ride with him? I said yes. We stopped at a store; we continued driving. He said: I have to pick up the kids. I had about five seconds to draw my Glock 17 and unload it before we were on school property.
It was plenty of time. Most people probably would not have bothered. As an instructor, I knew the legal jeopardy I would be in. I knew I could, as a passenger, draw the Glock safely and unload it.
While fatal gun accident rates have decreased 94% over the last 90 years, it is desirable to continue that trend. Carrying a gun is a very safe activity, especially in a holster. Loading and unloading a gun is safe as well; but many more accidents occur while loading and unloading than while simply carrying.
It is safer to carry the pistols loaded rather than mandate numerous unnecessary reloads.
Look at this from the side of the consciously unarmed. They see more restrictions on those exercising their Second Amendment rights as a positive. Making it difficult for people excise their rights, especially making it legally risky, is not seen as a problem for them. They have made the decision to be unarmed. They do not see infringements on the right to bear arms as costing them anything. They are unwilling to admit that more armed citizens help to keep them safe.
HB 2693 is a one of the simplest bills I have seen. It removes five words from Arizona statute 13-3102, the phrase “is not loaded and that”, which removes the requirement that firearms be unloaded in a means of transportation, under the control of an adult, on school grounds.
Arizona Citizens Defense League has been the moving force behind this bill, with able assistance from the NRA. Full disclosure: I am a lifetime member of both the AZCDL and the NRA.
Many parents with school age children are armed in Arizona. Most of them probably ignore the unsafe requirements of the existing law.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.