From the AZCDL:
HB 2630, an AzCDL requested bill that reduces the penalty for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit to a petty offense, was vetoed by the Governor on April 29, 2008. You can read her veto letter here: http://www.azleg.gov/govlettr/48leg/2R/HB2630.pdf .
HB 2630 would have reclassified carrying a concealed weapon without a permit as a petty offense, unless the violation occurred in the commission of, or attempted commission of, a “serious offense or violent crime”, in which case the CCW offense would have been a class 6 felony, or any other felony offense, in which case it would have remained a class 1 misdemeanor. In a nutshell, if you’re a bad guy carrying a concealed weapon, penalties would have been stiffened. If you’re a law-abiding citizen, it would have become a petty offense.
For those who don’t know, Arizona is an “open carry” state and no permit is required for openly carrying. However, if one’s shirt accidentally covers the gun, one is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor. Similarly, if the openly-carried gun is concealed from view in a car (I’m left-handed — if I’m stopped by a police officer, the gun is not readily visible from either side of the vehicle as it’s blocked by the door on the left and my body on the right), that’s a crime.
Heaven forbid that good guys who make an honest mistake be differentiated from criminals committing violent crime.
Oh well. Maybe it’ll pass the next time around.
Frankly, I don’t even see why permits should be necessary to carry. Vermont and Alaska don’t have permits (AK issues them for reciprocity with other states) and they don’t have any trouble. If people can open carry in AZ without any issues, why should carrying concealed be any different? The mere carriage of a firearm harms nobody.