In Arizona, a Fresh Battle Over Gun Laws

The state's laws are among the weakest in the nation
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2011 9:36 AM CST
An Arizona made AR-15 is pulled from the display at Caswells Shooting Range Tuesday, April 6, 2010 in Mesa, Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer has signed into law two bills supported by gun-rights activists. One...   (AP Photo/Matt York)

(Newser) – Charles Heller doesn't travel light. The secretary of the Arizona Citizens Defense League can be found carrying two handguns (at least) at all times. He has another in his car door, and more in a safe bolted into his trunk. "What happened at the Safeway plaza shows why it's so important for people to be armed," he said, "evil is out there." Heller represents one half of those battling over Arizona's law gun control laws—among the weakest in the nation—which are coming under fire in the aftermath of Saturday's shooting, reports the LA Times.

Gun control advocates argue the state's laws—which allow concealed firearms to be carried almost anywhere in public—let the mentally unstable get their hands on guns, and are pushing for federal officials to impose tougher background checks and reinstate a ban on assault weapons. But for gun proponents like Heller, the state's laws (which may be expanded to allow students to carry concealed guns on college campuses) are a symbol of freedom and an important part of self-defense. "Arizona's gun laws are what they should be everywhere," said a man who visited a shooting range yesterday. "More people should be carrying to protect us."

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