Brewer vetoes measure that would create crime for gun theft - East Valley Tribune: Politics

Brewer vetoes measure that would create crime for gun theft

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Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 4:00 pm

Calling the measure unnecessary, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a measure Wednesday that would have created a whole new crime for taking away someone else's gun.

HB 2338 would have said someone who does that is guilty of aggravated assault. That's a Class 4 felony and carries a presumptive prison term of 2 1/2 years.

But Brewer, in her veto message, questioned the need.

“Current law already provides appropriate penalties for the conduct described in this legislation,” she wrote.

That is the exact same argument that House Minority Leader Chad Campbell made to colleagues in his unsuccessful attempt to block the measure. He pointed out that it's already a crime to steal someone's gun. That's a Class 6 felony with a one-year presumptive prison term.

Burglary of a home is a Class 3 felony carrying a 3 1/2 year presumptive prison term. Campbell said if criminals are not deterred by that penalty, he doubts that stacking another charge on top would make a difference.

The veto came despite arguments by But Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, that the measure is necessary, if for no other reason than to allow prosecutors to stack charges against people.

“When you think about home invasions, when you're trying to protect your home, and in the event the perpetrator attempts to take away your weapon, it gives the police something else to use when they go through the judicial proceedings,” Barton explained. Anyway, she said, the goal is to keep a burglar from using the weapon against the owner.

Brewer also vetoed HB 2459 which would have barred state agencies from adopting any rules that would impose new regulations on what people can do with their property.

The governor said she is no fan of regulations, citing a moratorium she placed on new rules, albeit one with exceptions. She said this measure goes too far, to the point where it could impair the ability of state agencies to implement the law.

Separately on the issue of property rights, Brewer vetoed legislation which would have required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reimburse landowners and those who use state lands for grazing for losses due to the federal program reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf to Arizona.

Brewer said implementing this for state lands would be cumbersome. Beyond that, she said it's probably illegal, saying the state has no authority to compel the federal agency to do anything.

Brewer also vetoed legislation to allow certain kinds of small corporations to get dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to organizations that help children attend private and parochial schools.

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