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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Loose guns…an Arizona staple

The typical Arizona
machine gun adventure
Arizonans love their guns and adore their Republican lawmakers who make it possible for anyone to own a gun and take it anywhere with little or no training.  The GOP legislature is proud of this, as well as the gun worshipping public that sport their firearms around the state like a bunch of sophomoric Wyatt Earps.  Some companies even hold their conventions in the capital city of Phoenix just so they can participate in the newest fad, the Machine Gun Adventure.

But this post is about a 22-year old woman who took her lunch break to buy herself a gun and get a concealed weapons permit. 

As Kellie Mejdrich describes it, that short amount of time plus $100 was all it took.  Mejdrich is a senior at the University of Arizona and is the Bolles Fellow this semester covering the Legislature.  She’ll now be able to carry that concealed weapon into restaurants that serve alcohol, most national and city parks, near schools—and 36 other states that recognize that permit.  The rest of her story is still more bizarre, even in Arizona.

Of course there are some restrictions in getting the concealed carry permit, she says, like “citizenship, being 21 years old, not suffering from mental illness (this isn’t ever evaluated though), never have been convicted of a felony, and having ‘satisfactorily completed a training program or demonstrated competence with a firearm,’ according to state law.  I’m using a lot of Kellie’s article text in this post because of its tone; the “can you believe this?” approach.


Kellie Mejdrich

Here are some examples of “can you believe this?”  A prior 8-hour training course has been reduced to only 1 by the state.  Kellie took her one-hour course from Bob Denis of CCW AZ School, LLC.  Their website proudly advertises “1hr Law Gets Permit.”  The site does say you should have experience, but Denis didn’t even ask Kellie if she had shot a gun or test her proficiency.  And, of course, there is nothing in Arizona law that requires that.

Denis is DPS (AZ Dept. Public Service) and NRA certified, and he showed them a PowerPoint presentation which included the phrase, “Now that I’ve taken human life, what’s next?”  The instructor also provides a business card to be given to police in a situation where Kellie used her weapon.  It says:

“If I have given this to you, it has been necessary to take actions to defend innocent life,” and continues to set out legal parameters: “I wish to make no further statements until I have contacted an attorney and composed myself.”

Kellie asked Denis why he didn’t quiz the class on their gun experience.  His answer, “I can’t ask 20 or 30 people independently, I have to cover it as a blanket statement,” Denis said. “Plus my attorney told me that the website does in fact cover me, as far as the legality of that, if anybody ever tried to come against CCW AZ School.”  He later admitted that without adequate training, the gun owners are “hurting themselves.” 

And even more “can you believe this?”  Denis advised his students to “…shoot first and deal with the consequences later in the event of a home invasion.”  Not, attempt first to confirm that it isn’t your wife or children you are shooting, just shoot first.  Precisely what George Zimmerman did in killing Trayvon Martin, but he wasn’t even in his home.

Kellie eventually gets around to the dim-witted GOP legislators {my words} that enacted these stupid laws.  One such state lawmaker, Rick Murphy, R-Glendale, raved over the fact that concealed carry holders were “trained and following the law.”  She asked Murphy his opinion of her ability to defend herself in public, I am assuming based on her descriptions of Denis’ training.  Just what you might expect from a politician, particularly one who passes idiotic gun laws {my words}:

“I think it would be irresponsible of you to try,” Murphy said. “But then again we cannot always legislate responsibility and when we try we always fail. You cannot legislate common sense any more than you can legislate responsibility.”  What the hell did he say?   

“Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, expressed his support for concealed carry on college campuses on Twitter the day of the Oakland shooting at a small religious college that killed seven.”  But when Mejdrich told him of her experience with training, Harper replied, “well, you know, it’s still a background check. That’s important. Obviously you took a one hour course, that is some kind of training.”


The perfect twins

Kelly countered with the question of whether or not “…he thinks the law should be changed back to the training requirements he boasted the CCW involved, he defaulted to the Second Amendment.”  He continued, “You’ve been influenced by academia.  The constitution is absolute.”  Pathetic!

When Mejdrich asked House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Tempe, if a 22-year-old woman holding a permit without having ever fired a gun was too much, Campbell answered: “That’s a problem.  And that’s why I have a problem with some of the gun bills down here.  Previous CCW law required ‘good training, good background checks.’  We basically gutted it.  The CCW program is irrelevant now in this state.”  Amen!

The epitome of understatements!

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