People who display their guns because they feel threatened will remain subject to arrest.
Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill Tuesday which would have allowed individuals to draw their weapons in cases where a reasonable person would believe it is necessary to protect against the use or attempted use of physical force.
Napolitano said someone already can pull out a gun if they are under threat of deadly force.
The problem with this proposal, she said, is it allows the display of a firearm when the dispute is simply verbal.
“A person is not justified in taking hold of their firearm if his fear is based only on words of the provocateur, with no related action,” Napolitano wrote.
“No one wants a war of words to escalate into a battle of bullets,” Napolitano continued. She said that escalation “puts the public and its law enforcement officers at greater risk.”
But Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, said it is Napolitano who is putting citizens at risk.
“It doesn’t escalate anything,” he said.
“This was about good citizens who are intimidated and threatened and just saying, 'I have a gun, leave me alone,’” Pearce said. “But apparently she doesn’t believe citizens have a right to express their fear by letting somebody know they have a gun.”
Pearce said Napolitano’s argument that someone needs to wait until they are physically attacked makes no sense.
“You wait ’til the big 6-foot-5, 280-pound guy knocks you on the ground and incapacitates you before you can tell him, 'I’ve got a gun,’” he said.
“If that big guy threatens you, the next thing is he’s going to hit you,” at which point “it’s too late to say anything,” Pearce added.
He said Napolitano missed the point of the bill.
Napolitano vetoed another bill Tuesday which would have made state-issued permits to carry a concealed weapon valid for the owner’s lifetime.
Current law requires someone seeking a permit to have a background check, be fingerprinted and pass a state-approved firearms course.
The course includes information on when people can use deadly force as well as requiring them to show they have the ability to use the gun.
That permit must be renewed every five years, with a new background check to see if the person has committed any crimes in the interim that disqualify him or her from having the permit.
Napolitano called that “unwise public policy,” pointing out that even food handler permits must be renewed every three years, with applicants having to pass a new test on food safety.
“If we believe protecting the public from food poisoning is important enough to require retesting and renewal, it is impossible to justify a lifetime permit for carrying a concealed weapon,” she wrote.
There is, however, no requirement for new training every five years: Lawmakers approved — and Napolitano signed — a law two years ago removing the requirement for refresher courses, leaving only a new background check.
Gubernatorial press aide Jeanine L’Ecuyer, asked about the 2006 action, said she had no answer why Napolitano felt at that time it was acceptable to remove the refresher course requirement.