Arizonans without state permits will not be able to carry loaded guns under the seat of their cars.
Gov. Janet Napolitano on Monday vetoed legislation which would have made cars and trucks the same as someone's home: You could have a gun anywhere, visible or not. The governor said the measure "would have added to the level of uncertainty and danger law enforcement officers who make traffic stops already face in the line of duty."
But Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, said existing law already allows people to carry holstered weapons in places not visible to someone outside the car, including the glove box and the map pocket in the door. He said his measure would just have simplified the law so as not to make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Napolitano also vetoed another bill which would have forbade police from charging people with illegally carrying a concealed weapon if any portion of the gun were visible.
"Common sense tells us that exposure of a small corner of a gun handle is insufficient to give reasonable notice to the public or law enforcement that a person is armed," the governor wrote. Napolitano instead prefers existing law which requires that a weapon be "wholly or partially visible."
The two vetoes bring to five the number of weapons bills Napolitano vetoed this session. She already has rejected measures to:
Reduce the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit to a fine rather than jail time.
Allow those with concealed weapon permits to opt for lifetime registration.
Permit those who believe they are threatened to unholster a gun without being charged with a crime.
Todd Rathner, a board member of the National Rifle Association, called the series of vetoes "baffling."
"We have to question whether she hasn't turned her back on gun owners," said Rathner. He said it may be because she is a "lame duck" or because "she's just not worried about holding statewide office any more."
Kavanagh, who crafted the measure about guns in vehicles, said his concern is not about philosophy but practicality. Someone who wants to carry a concealed weapon has to pass a state-approved course which includes information on gun laws.
Those without a permit can have a holstered gun in a vehicle in permitted places like the glove box or map pocket. Kavanagh said motorists should not have to try to figure out the "green and red zones in a car."
The veto of the other measure did more than kill a change about what part of a gun needs to be visible. That measure also would have let members of a sheriff's department reserve or posse carry a concealed weapon without a state permit if they had received state-approved firearms training.
Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said many county sheriffs use volunteer reserve officers who already have been certified as police officers. He said this change in law was designed to clarify that they also can carry concealed weapons, something he said is necessary for undercover operations.