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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state April 29, 2016


4/23/2014 3:12:00 PM
Brewer vetoes legislation making gun-theft aggravated assault

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services


PHOENIX -- Calling the measure unnecessary, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a measure Wednesday that would have created a whole new crime for taking away someone else's gun.

HB 2338 would have said someone who does that is guilty of aggravated assault. That's a Class 4 felony and carries a presumptive prison term of 2 1/2 years.

But Brewer, in her veto message, questioned the need.

"Current law already provides appropriate penalties for the conduct described in this legislation,' she wrote.

That is the exact same argument that House Minority Leader Chad Campbell made to colleagues in his unsuccessful attempt to block the measure.

He pointed out that it's already a crime to steal someone's gun. That's a Class 6 felony with a one-year presumptive prison term.

And burglary of a home is a Class 3 felony carrying a 3 1/2 year presumptive prison term. Campbell said if criminals are not deterred by that penalty, he doubts that stacking another charge on top would make a difference.

The veto came despite arguments by But Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, that the measure is necessary, if for no other reason than to allow prosecutors to stack charges against people.

"When you think about home invasions, when you're trying to protect your home, and in the event the perpetrator attempts to take away your weapon, it gives the police something else to use when they go through the judicial proceedings,' Barton explained. Anyway, she said, the goal is to keep a burglar from using the weapon against the owner.

Brewer also vetoed HB 2459 which would have barred state agencies from adopting any rules that would impose new regulations on what people can do with their property.

The governor said she is no fan of regulations, citing a moratorium she placed on new rules, albeit one with exceptions. She said this measure goes too far, to the point where it could impair the ability of state agencies to implement the law.

Separately on the issue of property rights, Brewer vetoed legislation that would have required the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to reimburse landowners and those who use state lands for grazing for losses due to the federal program reintroducing the Mexican gray wolf to Arizona.

Brewer said implementing this for state lands would be cumbersome. Beyond that, she said it's probably illegal, saying the state has no authority to compel the federal agency to do anything.

Brewer also vetoed legislation to allow certain kinds of small corporations to get dollar-for-dollar tax credits for donations to organizations that help children attend private and parochial schools.

Taylor Waste

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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014
Article comment by: Maybe our 90 dwarves

can petition the new Pope to canonize gun ownership.

Right after he grants sainthood to old Ronnie.

Seems to me, that the far-right is disobeying the 1st of the 10 Commandments by worshipping the false god of weaponry.



Posted: Friday, May 2, 2014
Article comment by: @ It seems to me

Why do you automatically assume that a 'legal' gun owner isn't the one committing a felony or otherwise posing a threat?

(As we are so proud of, in AZ and many other places, one need only to be breathing to be a legal gun owner)

What if the 'legal' gun owner doesn't like your looks-- it might be the hoody!-- feels threatened by your mere presence and pulls a weapon on you-- an innocent passer-by?

Your gun utopia does not exist except in a narrow mind.


Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014
Article comment by: It seems to me:

This isn't a big enough deal for Governor Brewer to avoid making points with anti-gun independents.

If someone is grappling with a legal gun-owner for possession of her firearm, that person is probably committing at least one other felony. Or soon will.


Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014
Article comment by: Miss Represented

Harris Shirley is correct.

This law added one subparagraph to Arizona's laws regarding what causes a misdemeanor assault charge to be escalated to aggravated assault.

It is already aggravated assault to attempt to disarm a police officer. It appears to me that the law simply put law abiding citizens on an equal footing with cops when a thief tries to disarm them. Here's the gist, with new text capitalized:

A person commits aggravated assault if the person commits assault as prescribed by section 13-1203...(9) If the person knowingly takes or attempts to exercise control over...(d) A PERSON'S FIREARM THAT IS LAWFULLY POSSESSED BY THE PERSON IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL AND STATE LAW. THIS SUBDIVISION DOES NOT APPLY TO A PEACE OFFICER WHO TAKES OR ATTEMPTS TO EXERCISE CONTROL OVER A PERSON'S FIREARM WHILE THE OFFICER IS ENGAGED IN THE EXECUTION OF ANY OFFICIAL DUTIES.

http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/51leg/2r/bills/hb2338p.pdf


Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Article comment by: Harris Shirley

Lets see if you mighty thinkers can get it:

A class 6 felony is a fine and not much more. Currently stealing a gun is often a crime of property not violence. That's why the penalty is light and involves usually no prison time.

HB2338 was intended for those times when a lawful gun owner is facing a criminal and the criminal attempts to disarm the lawful owner by means of violence.

Cute journalistic slight of hand using the word "stealing" when you knew the difference. Home invasions may not be common in the Verde Valley but in other parts of the state, this law is welcome. Law enforcement suppored it by the way -

Now return to your uninformed comments.


Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Article comment by: Mary Jane

Since when is the justice system about "Stacking Charges" against defendants? This a horrible trend that allows the prosecutor to coerce guilty pleas from otherwise innocent people.

This has definitely contributed to the unprecedented incarceration rates in our country. Letting prosecutors write legislation is ignorant beyond belief!

Governor Brewer is to be applauded for vetoing many such foolish bills lately. I wonder if she hasn't started thinking about her legacy and decided to govern with her conscience intact.


Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014
Article comment by: Clint Mapston

Go Jan Brewer! This is the way to Govern. This legislation was largely redundant and unneeded. I applaud your fortitude in doing what's right for ALL of Arizona, not just rubber-stamping everything that comes from our right leaning legislature.



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