The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to repeal laws prohibiting people who are armed from going into bars, restaurants and other places where alcoholic beverages are sold.
Wednesday’s 32-17 preliminary vote came after Rep. Randy Graf, R-Green Valley, agreed to a provision which says that those who have weapons cannot drink.
He said that should satisfy foes who insist that guns and alcohol do not mix.
The legislation also would permit business owners to post notices in their establishments to say that guns are not permitted.
That’s the same legal premise that already exists for all other kinds of businesses.
But Graf refused to include another provision sought by bar and restaurant owners that would have reversed that presumption and said weapons are allowed only if the business owner specifically hangs a sign permitting guncarrying patrons.
He said that would not be fair to people exercising their Second Amendment rights to carry arms.
The measure, SB1210, appears to have more than enough votes for final House approval.
But its future remains uncertain when the legislation goes to the Senate.
Gov. Janet Napolitano has refused to say what she will do if the legislation reaches her desk.
Rep. Russell Pearce, RMesa, said people have a right to bear arms to protect themselves. "I find the best — the best — safety we have out there today in this world today are good citizens that are armed,’’ he said, adding people must go through background checks and training to get permits to carry concealed weapons.
But the legislation is not limited to those with stateissued permits.
It also applies to any person who, under state law, is allowed to carry a gun in the open.
House Minority Leader John Loredo, D-Phoenix, worried about the chance of confrontations when someone working in a bar or restaurant that has posted against weapons spies what appears to be a gun in a waistband or perhaps even in a fanny pack.
"We’re going to be putting bar owners in a very tense situation as they try to confront somebody who may be carrying a gun that is in violation of this law,’’ Loredo said.
Graf noted there are 34 other states that currently have this legislation on the books.
"There has not been an incident. There has not been a problem,’’ he said.