Veto on Arizona Bills

According to Dave Hardy, Napolitano has vetoed two gun bills.  The first:

Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed legislation 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.

I have to say, I agree with the governor on this one.  Unless you’re justified in using deadly force, your gun should stay in its holster.  For situations like the one described here:

“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,” Pearce explained, at which point “it’s too late to say anything.” He said Napolitano missed the whole point of the bill.

There’s already force disparity defenses to deal with that situation if you have to use deadly force on someone much larger than you, even if the offending party doesn’t have a weapon.  Fists can be considered deadly weapons under some circumstances.  One reason I think carrying OC [self-defense spray] is a good idea is because it’s useful for getting out of a physical altercation where deadly force wouldn’t be justified.  While I agree with eliminating duties to retreat, allowing people to bring deadly force into a situation that has not yet escalating into that grave a situation seems like a bad idea.

The other bill Nepolitano vetoed was this:

Napolitano separately vetoed another measure Tuesday which would have made state-issued permits to carry a concealed weapon valid for the owner’s lifetime.

Little reason to veto this, since most state law enforcement agencies are monitoring criminal records of license holders and will revoke if you do something that makes you unqualified.  The renewal is just a hoop to jump through so everyone can feel better.

UPDATE: It seems I may be misunderstanding Arizona law here.  In Pennsylvania, we have no law against brandishing a firearm.  If you pull a gun on someone, and don’t use it, you’re not liable if the bad guy beats a retreat or backs down, as long as the circumstances that caused you to draw was a deadly force situation.  Folks are suggesting that’s not the case in Arizona.  If Arizona law does punish for drawing, but not shooting, then that would seem to be something that should be fixed.

UPDATE: After looking at Arizona Revised Statutes on Justification, I’m not sure I was misunderstanding it.  I have more information and questions here.

14 thoughts on “Veto on Arizona Bills”

  1. I could be wrong on this, but it was my understanding that according to the law, if you draw your weapon and do not fire, you’ve committed a crime as it’s considered brandishing even if you were in a situation that warranted deadly force.

    If drawing your gun diffuses the situation, you’re screwed. The way the law is worded now, it encourages people to shoot.

  2. “The renewal is just a hoop to jump through so everyone can feel better.”

    Not to mention the fact that they can jack up the fee/tax whenever they want if they want more money, or want to discourage people from renewing.

  3. Robb,

    Not sure about the law in AZ, but I don’t think that’s the case here. Pennsylvania doesn’t have a law against brandishing specifically, but it’s considered simple assault if you threaten someone with your gun without justification.

  4. “Unless you’re justified in using deadly force, your gun should stay in its holster.” I agree, but it should be a matter of tactics, not law. You plan to always keep your firearm holstered unless you intend to use it. Unfortunately, there are situations where different tactics might be valid or advantageous. I see no reason to tie the hands of a citizen in using not only the best tools, but the best methods to defend himself.

    If someone “brandishes” a weapon in an threatening fashion, there is already law to deal with that. If it is purely defensive, then the victim should have the right to decide _not_ to pull the trigger if he thinks merely showing the gun will end the situation.

    Open carrying in AZ is already legal. But if you choose not to OC, but still wish to be able to display your weapon to force aggressors to stand down… you are outta luck.

  5. This law would not have forced anyone to change their tactics. It simply would have removed regulation that has unfairly punished law abiding citizens in Arizona in the past who were simply denfending themselves against thugs by “brandishing” their weapon (which sent the assailants running without the need to pull the trigger) & were then sent to jail on brandishing & assault with a deadly weapon charges. In Arizona if you display your concealed weapon in any way but don’t shoot your asailant you can be sent to jail on these charges. Citizens should be free to display their weapon in cases where an asailant is “using or attempting to use unlawful physical force” without being forced to pull the trigger, if the assailant halts the attack at the first sight of the weapon.

  6. Sebastian, I think I’m correct here as Greg and Dustin have chimed in.

    Here’s the scenario – I’m walking to church to donate canned goods to orphans. Joe Thug jumps out from behind a bush and threatens to stab me. I drop the green beans and cranberry sauce, pull my Glock 7 (You know what that is? It’s a porcelain gun made in Germany. It doesn’t show up on your airport X-ray machines, and it costs more than you make here in a month!) and, upon seeing I’m armed, he turns and flees.

    According to AZ law, I’m a criminal for brandishing.

    That’s what the law was supposed to fix.

  7. Ah, I appear to be the one with a misunderstanding. I guess it never really hurts to do a little digging, eh?

    I sit corrected!

  8. Disagree completely with you, Sebastian. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to think of a situation where the threat of lethal force would be reasonable even though the use of lethal force would not. In such situations, there shouldn’t be criminal liability for brandishing, any more than in a shots-fired self-defense situation there should be criminal liability for battery or homicide.

  9. The applicable statute is in 13-1203 A2“Assault: Intentionally placing another person in reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” & 13-1204 A2 Aggravated Assault:”2. If the person uses a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.” “B. Except pursuant to subsections C and D of this section, aggravated assault pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 1 or 2 or paragraph 9, subdivision (a) of this section is a class 3 felony except if the victim is under fifteen years of age in which case it is a class 2 felony punishable pursuant to section 13-604.01.”
    So in summary, you can be charged & convicted of a Class 2 or 3 felony of Agravated assault in Arizona for simply “brandishing” a deadly weapon causing a thug to have “reasonable apprehension of imminent physical injury” – no exception is listed for brandishing a deadly weapon in self defense. I know of a case where an elderly gentleman simply moved his handgun from a concealed location in his vehicle onto his dashboard to scare away a car of thugs who were attempting to drive him off the road which did scare them away, and he was charged with agravated assault. I’m trying to find the specifics of that story, will post it when I find it.

  10. I’ve been in an extremely similar situation. Granted, you could just say that I was open carrying (I was) but I intentionally showed him that I was armed only after he refused to back down given our verbal exchange.

    I’d hate to see a law that would legalize “brandishing” over minor matters, but there are situations where moving from “concealed” to “open” is a good idea.

  11. Dustin…. See Dave Hardy’s update from Joe Olsen. Generally speaking, there’s a self-defense exception in common law, even if it’s not in statute.

  12. Part of the reason for vetoing the good for life permit may be the simple fact that with its five year renewal requirement it’s a revenue generator in a state that is always looking for revenue.

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