It's not the number of guns in Arizona or even our anything-goes gun laws that make us the most permissive gun state in the country.

It's our attitude.

Here in Arizona, we love our guns — even when they're the death of us.

Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety (right forward) sat with Vice President Joe Biden and other gun-control advocates to discuss legislation intended to curb gun violence.
iamphx.org
Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety (right forward) sat with Vice President Joe Biden and other gun-control advocates to discuss legislation intended to curb gun violence.


Guns didn't just win the West — they won the United States. When the Founding Fathers created the Bill of Rights, the issue of guns was the second-biggest thing on their minds.

In the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down a handgun ban in the nation's capital (Washington D.C. v. Heller), justices wrote that Englishmen in the mid-17th century, having seen kings use loyal militias to suppress political dissidents, fought for gun rights. They were "extremely wary of concentrated military forces run by the state" and were jealous of the militias' firepower, the ruling says. When the Crown began to disarm colonists in what was to become the United States, people had a "polemic" reaction that led to a strong belief in the right of the individual to own and use guns.

The Second Amendment states: "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

The 2007 Supreme Court decision, celebrated by gun-rights advocates, hinged on the idea that the right to keep and bear arms was not dependent on any organized militia.

"The prefatory clause does not suggest that preserving the militia was the only reason Americans valued the ancient right; most undoubtedly thought it even more important for self-defense and hunting," the majority wrote.

Following the war with Mexico, a brutal campaign was waged against Indians in the new territory of Arizona. "Atrocity bred atrocity as the body count on both sides climbed into the hundreds," writes Thomas E. Sheridan in the 2012 book Arizona: A History.

The war, waged by settlers and the Army, continued through the 1870s and '80s. Arizona was "really a dangerous place," state historian Marshall Trimble tells New Times.

"Everybody knew somebody who had been killed by the Apache," he says. "Then there were the 'border bandits,' who would kill you just to get the boots you were wearing. The more heavily armed you were, the better."

When more Arizona towns sprang up, boosters wanted them perceived as peaceable places, to draw in business. That led to town ordinances prohibiting the carrying of firearms, like the one in Tombstone that led to the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral.

Yet when Arizona leaders sat down in 1910 to draft the state's first constitution, most had no interest in curbing gun rights. They chose to copy the Washington state Constitution's exact language on the matter, as former Arizona resident and North Dakota attorney Jerod Tufte (now a staffer for Republican North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple) notes in a 2001 article on Arizona gun laws published in the Arizona State Law Journal.

The text that became Article II, section 26 of the Arizona Constitution reads: "The right of the individual citizen to bear arms in defense of himself, or the state, shall not be impaired, but nothing in this section shall be construed as authorizing individuals or corporations to organize, maintain, or employ an armed body of men."

But a minority of Arizonans at the convention didn't want to allow unfettered gun rights. Contradicting part of the popular image of the Wild West, a delegate named Baker moved to strike the pro-gun text completely, Tufte writes.

"I never, in all my life, found it necessary to carry a six-shooter, and I have passed through nearly all the scenes and experiences of this wild and unsettled country," Baker is quoted as having said. "I have seen lives lost and innocent blood spilled just through the carrying of arms — concealed weapons — under one's coat or shirt. It is most dangerous and vile, a practice that should never be permitted except in times of war and never in time of peace."

No record of a vote on that motion was recorded, but two votes were taken later that evening on separate motions that tried to put limits on Arizona's gun rights. One specifically would have called on lawmakers to regulate gun rights, while another wished to give lawmakers the right to "regulate the wearing of weapons to prevent crime." Both motions failed.

Meanwhile, in January 1911, two months after Arizona approved its constitution, New Mexico adopted a constitution that granted state gun rights but specifically stated that concealed weapons were not one of them. Because Arizonans were familiar with the debate over concealed weapons in their neighboring state, Tufte writes, the intentional exclusion of similar language in the Arizona Constitution is telling.

In other words, most Arizona pioneers were what today would be called gun nuts.


Arizona began as a gun-friendly state but fell head over heels in love with firearms by the mid-1990s.

In the '70s and '80s, as Phoenix and its surroundings grew from a big small town into one of America's largest urban centers, it wasn't uncommon to see people taking advantage of the state's open-carry law by wearing a holstered gun in public. The sight has become less common now that nearly anyone can carry concealed weapons.

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91 comments
AZREDNECK1958
AZREDNECK1958

WELL THERE YOU GO FOLKS IT WONT BE LONG BEFORE THEYRE GOIN DOOR TO DOOR CONFINSCATING WEAPONS.  YOU SAW IT COMING.  YOU KNEW IT WAS HERE AND HERE IT IS.  NEXT THING YOU KNOW THEYRE GONNA COME STAMP YOU FOR THE MARK OF THE BEAST WHICH IS THAT NATIONAL ID CHIP.   TELL YOU ONE THING THEY AINT TAKIN MY CROSS BOWS OR MACHETES.  CANT LEAVE A FELLOW COMPLETELY DEFENSELESS.  WHAT YOU GONNA DO, THROW POPCORN AT THE INTRUDER???  GET SOME SENSE AMERICA!!!

Comrade
Comrade

I heard the rumor that soon anybody in possession of an assault weapon is gonna HAVE  to register it with the Feds, no compliance results in the surrender of such weapon and $5, 000 fine, go consult with an Shrink and take medication for paranoia as long as directed by the Shrink. Possesion of a LARGE QUANTITY MAGAZINE doubles the fine to be paid.

eeecuzin
eeecuzin

Still pushing the bushmaster AR 15 was used even though it was found until after it was over  in the trunk of the car propaganda.  Quit telling lies to make people afraid of the scary black gun. The lame stream media has no credibility when it continues to distort facts to push an agenda. The administration continues to avoid the root cause of the violent behaviour being big pharma and the SSRI effects on children. Like all schemes the progressives push they do nothing to fix the problem, create more problems, thought up by deranged people, and waste a boatload of money and defy common sense. 

jlcanecchia
jlcanecchia

The New Times, like it's parent company, the Village Voice, is nothing more than a bottom of the birdcage rag and a leftist propaganda machine

jlcanecchia
jlcanecchia

The New Times is just a bottom of the birdcage rag, like it's owner , the Village Voice.

nagmashdriver
nagmashdriver

Obviously written with a Leftist slant. One of the reasons that I moved from the People's Republik of Kalifornia to The Free State of Arizona is to be able to practice my Civil Right, that of keeping and BEARING arms in defense of myself, my fellow citizens and finally, my country. 

For every inane thing that a Leftist gun-grabber says, I buy another gun or another case of ammunition, just to piss them off. I'm already buying another evil-looking "assault weapon" just to piss off BHO, Holder, Pelosi, et al. 

We Americans love our guns, and it's a damned good thing that we do because they won us our freedom in 1776 and have kept us free ever since. From my cold, dead hands, Mr. Stern.

Harold_Holt
Harold_Holt

"Nearly two decades later, the country still hasn't had another mass shooting — despite Australians' quietly importing about a million guns that aren't banned under the law, such as bolt-action and single-round-loading guns."

This is misleading because there has been at least one "attempted" mass shooting in Australia since then, the Monash University shooting in 2002. The only reason it wasn't classified as an actual mass shooting is that miraculously only two people died. At least 7 people were hit by bullets and many more were shot at but missed by the crazed gunman. But it takes three deaths for something to be classified as a "mass" shooting according to the powers that be. The gunman used legally acquired pistols.

statueoffreedom
statueoffreedom

Found it - with 14 people listening why didn't you help.

stevenfox905
stevenfox905

Had a great experience with the real "Gun Culture" of AZ today. Attended the oldest ongoing rifle match in US history. The 121st annual Washington's Birthday Match out at Ben Avery. Yes, it predates Arizona statehood. People from all over the state attended, families, youth shooting clubs, ROTC groups, law enforcement officers, seniors, you name it, all walks of life.. all genuine, good hearted, safety oriented people. More AR 15's than I have ever seen in one place at a time. I watched a paralyzed Army Ranger who gave his ability to walk to an IED in defense of this country get presented with an M1 Garand rifle all paid for through donations from good hearted law abiding Arizona gun owners. As a vet myself, I cried during the National Anthem knowing that this side of our "Gun Culture" will never make it in the headlines of today's sensationalist media. Very sad...

kevinwalsh1619
kevinwalsh1619

There is another matter to be addressed.  Gabrielle Giffords is a vegetable.  She cannot advocate anything of her own free will.  We need to call this what it is:  Political exploitation of a disabled person.

dencarllc
dencarllc

suggest that a review of gun deaths be done. by who, were, & circumstances vs high capacity/assault rifle numbers. let's look at the basics of what prompted all. you will finds that most are by criminals in a criminal act & WILL not be effected by type of gun or amount of ammo. mass murders, while being horrific, will not compare remotely to crime related deaths by gun. crime is an act of desperation or economics or mindset, gun control will not curb those and far out shadow the numbers by legal ownership of any weapon. let's fix the real problem., society. take the cars off the street they kill far more of our citizens, or how about smoking, even worse, or alcohol, those numbers are staggering. 

rick_gilbert
rick_gilbert

I find it hypocritical of the New Times, which obviously has a trendy anti-gun attitude, to publish this article about the AZ gun culture while never to my knowledge mentioning AZ's DUI culture. A fast check of MADD and the FBI stats shows that, ironically enough, Arizona had about the same exact number of DUI deaths as gun murders in 2011! (221 gun, 215 DUI). Moreover, nationally, there are about 1300 MORE DUI deaths than gun murders.

I'm not calling for the 18th amendment all over again just as we shouldn't restrict the 2nd. In a nation of 300 million, there is going to be a certain number of psychopaths and a large number of drunks. Life is full of risks.

Finally, I don't think you'll see the DUI culture ever written about in the New Times. I'm not sure but this might be in part due to the fact that about 1/5 of the New Times is ads for alcohol, bars, and cannabis clubs? I'm not being critical of Voice Media Group, we all got to make a living, just be honest with us.

kevinwalsh1619
kevinwalsh1619

Harmon was a good man.  He killed two antisocial elements whom the law couldn't touch--a Jewish call center CEO who made his living harassing anyone with a  telephone and the sleazy lawyer who helped him Jew his contractor out of payment for taking care of his office furniture.  In the Harmon case the Second Amendment did exactly what it should have done.

--Kevin Walsh

badcaseaa
badcaseaa

Nice here we have another New Times "Journalist" that has sold out the people of Arizona just like Lemons. When  a "local" news outlet publishes stories trying to demonize something that most of the people of Arizona know to be our most important right you know that something is up. Well I had thought that only Lemons was the sellout but I guess the entire publication has sold out representing big government interests over  the peoples of Arizona's constitutional rights

bgray59
bgray59

Why are we fixated on so called assault weapons?  The Latest FBI crime statics report that murders by rifles which include assault rifles accounted for 323 murders.  Murders by blunt objects accounted for 496.  It would seem logical that we should seek to control the most deadly devices first.  Therefore it would seem that background checks and licensing should be applied to hammers and golf clubs since they are used in more murders than are Assault Rifles. 



Just a muse on something that I don't understand.  The AR-15/M-4 clones all have the same features.  A collapsible stock, pistol grip and a detachable magazine.  Yet when LEOs carry them they are called Patrol Rifles and they are good.  When the Department Homeland Security issues them (they just ordered 7,000)  to their employees (law enforcement and non law enforcement) they are called Self Defense Rifles they are good.  The rifles are good because they take away the advantage the criminals have over the police.


When several million law abiding citizens purchase them for hunting and self defense they are Evil.  Yet I face the same potential threat of being out gunned by the criminals.


Bush I was applauded for his executive orders which banned the implantation of full auto weapons.  What was not reported was a National Security Agency report that the availability of full auto weapons to criminals actually increased after the ban went into effect.  The drug smugglers started selling their full auto weapons when they completed their drops in the US.


I think the proposed ban on self defense rifles will have the same effect.  Such a measure will add to the revenue stream of the Cartels.  The guards on the drug shipments will sell their weapons once they have delivered their drugs and return to Mexico were they will get new weapons from the Mexican Military and Police stocks (see Commander of Southern Command Testimony on Fast and Furious).


As with most governmental programs, the law of unintended consequences will not be considered when implementing another knee jerk unenforced and unenforceable law.

penkdooo
penkdooo

That actually sounds pretty realiztic dude.


www.WebPrivacy.da.bz

AZnative
AZnative

@Bridawg - The real reason we are guaranteed the right to bear arms is to protect ourselves if our government is taken over by tyrants. 

Bridawg
Bridawg

Let's keep it real.  There is a not so small segment of society (yeah, mostly white men) who have an unnatural fetish attraction to firearms.  I don't know if its due to being denied their mother's tit or being sodomized as a young boy and really don't give a flying "F". Any idiot so under the aura of Gun worship that they need to be packing 24/7 to feel safe and whole is paranoid in my book and an accident waiting to happen.  These guys jerk off to the thoughts of a scenario where they can stand their ground. 

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

I fully support the Second Amendment and gun ownership.

All I ask is that guns don't end up in the wrong hands. The Gun Control Act makes this clear.

I would think that the NRA would support responsible gun legislation. The president's proposals do just that.

Comrade
Comrade

nagmashdriver, good thing is that You might be one of those depends wearer, therefore very soon those weapons are gonna be taken out of "YOUR COLD, DEAD HANDS"  when Your natural death comes; in a couple of years?. N-WAY, to me you sound like another one that brags about BEARING arms "In defense of myself, my fellow citizens and finally, my country", and when confronted , just chickens out, pee and shit all over the place and begs for mercy. Good luck and try not to shoot your toes or some other part by accident.

quidmore
quidmore

@kevinwalsh1619 Did you read the article? Giffords spoke. She's not a vegetable. She's mildly physically handicapped. Do you think that people in wheelchairs are vegetables? 

arizcalflalaw
arizcalflalaw

@kevinwalsh1619 I believe you are correct.  The views expressed on her behalf are those of her husband.  Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is not the point, but we need to remember who is really doing the speaking.

quidmore
quidmore

@rick_gilbert  uhhh... .. you just confirmed in your paragraph that arizona's VERY STRICT DUI laws work because the deaths are about equal to gun deaths, while across the nation the death rate is higher for DUI than guns.... ... so you just proved regulation works.

dencarllc
dencarllc

@kevinwalsh1619 your rant is an example of a mental disorder called idiot. murder by your definition or logic would also be a solution for yourself. i support the 2nd amendment carry a gun to defend myself, my family & my liberty & others, but you I'd have to watch go down.

badcaseaa
badcaseaa

i may have put my foot in my mouth reading article now made the assumption it was antigun by the title I will see if i stand by my first statement shortly.


Comrade
Comrade

bgray, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha........"once they delivered their drugs and return to Mexico were they will get new weapons from the Mexican Military and Police stocks"..........ha, ha, ha, ha, and tell me, how do You know that for a fact. Unbeliveable! and of course, there come the cheerleaders on Your side. IN THE KINGDOM OF THE BLIND THE ONE EYED IS KING.

dencarllc
dencarllc

@bgray59 golf club!? guess they'll gave to change that to two vs FOUR!!!!!!

dencarllc
dencarllc

@bgray59 goood post, next they'll limit you to carry only one rock, two would be too aggressive.

badcaseaa
badcaseaa

@bgray59 Very well put you may be the most intelligent and informed person on here be prepared to be attacked by the mindless New Times minions.

dencarllc
dencarllc

@Bridawg WOW! Here I thought that racism was dying out yet this one proves who the real racist is. guess this one doesn't realize that most of the killing isn't being done by whites but by minorities, taking from & killing there own people. Bridawg helps prove he doesn't want to be an equal in the world, just an a hole.

badcaseaa
badcaseaa

@Bridawg roflmao play the race card right off the bat the obvious sign of a person with no real argument lets toss in some other hot button issues that are totally unrelated and try to get blind support from people affected by those 2 aye truly pathetic you have no clue what keeping it real is you talk about race like it affects you even if you are a person of some other ethnicity you are obviously a suburban  schmuck that has no clue what it is like to live in a high crime area.

stephanielambert
stephanielambert

@Bridawg - you are a moron, as well as the problem when it comes to having a rational, intelligent conversation about this issue.  So shut it and go get an education.

azcumsquelcher
azcumsquelcher

@Bridawg you insult our ancestors by saying that. Gun ownership has a long, proud history in this country and to consider the desire to possess these tools as a fetish or reaction to child molestation is completely ridiculous and pretty fucked up. Are you failing to realize that this continent was conquered with guns, that food was provided by guns, that guns were used to fend off foreign and domestic attackers for hundreds of years...? Even if guns aren't used to gain food or to fight, they provide stress relief and bonding opportunities for families. Your belief that the only people who are set on keeping their guns are lunatics is unfair to the millions of 'normal' Americans who have owned firearms for decades and never used them with ill intentions. Please consider the possibility  that legal American gun owners are a diverse group of people with an equally as diverse array of opinions and motivations before you spout off and characterize a large group of people as nut jobs 

KeepItRealer
KeepItRealer

@Bridawg Lets keep it realer.  Besides the police gangs, most street gangs are made up of non-whites.  We can also take a look at music culture and see who has the fetish for guns, predominately mexicans and blacks.  Just admit it, you hate white people- its obvious.

eeecuzin
eeecuzin

@raystern @eeecuzin  

There were 4 hand guns found inside the building. The AR was taken from the trunk of the car AFTER it was over. If you cant figure that out then what  he supposedly shot everybody with it then ran outside put it in the trunk went back inside and shot himself.  the link you posted was done the next day. It is never let a crisis go to waste rewriting of the original facts. I dont think any truth is in the offical story sort of like the jerkoff father who was laughing and joking and then steps up to the mike gets in character and acts like he practiced. Its a blame game to take scary looking guns away from people.  The biggest reason not to believe it is it comes from the police. Nothing about this is right and stinks of incompatent and bumbling idiots.

nagmashdriver
nagmashdriver

@Comrade Spoken like a true Leftist. Thank G-d my gun-handling skills are ten times better than your grammar, otherwise I might very well shoot myself in the toe!

badcaseaa
badcaseaa

I stand by my original comment this reporter is totally disconnected with the Arizona people the reason pro gun rights laws pass here has nothing to do with powerful lobbyists its the will of the people, I remember a day when the New Times was a reliable alternative news source now they are just a sad pathetic shell of something that once had the potential t be great.

bgray59
bgray59

@Comrade An assessment of the automatic weapons importation ban by Gerorge Bush I by the NSA and the NSC reported that the importation of automatic weapons actually increased.


The Commander of Southern Command stated that the majority of weapons used by the Cartels came from Military and Police stocks in Central America. Check his testimony in the Fast and Furious hearings before Congress.


You might also want to check the DOJ report which is being widely reported in the press.  I specifically call your attention to the section which discusses the effect of the Australian program which has eliminated about 90% of all guns legally held by citizens.  Mass killings have stopped.  Overall crime and MURDERS have increased.


To quote Joe Friday. "Just the Facts Ma'am, just the facts".  The question is can you read, process and deal with the facts? 

bgray59
bgray59

@endre.helgerud @bgray59  It was buried in the back pages of the NYT.  I know it was included in the testimony on the Clinton Assault weapons Ban hearings held in El Dorado AR.  It has been four moves since I clipped that story and I no longer have the file.

bgray59
bgray59

@badcaseaa @bgray59 When I comment I all ways get a lot of personal attacks.  Very seldom does one of the re pliers actually present a reasoned argument.  Seldom do they even stay on point.


Sometimes I wonder if they even read my post.


Thank you for your comments.

raystern
raystern

@badcaseaa From my article: "The reason is a well-funded lobbying force and, undeniably, the will of the majority of Arizonans."

 
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