Brewer vetoes new gun-theft law, says act is already illegal

2014-04-24T00:00:00Z Brewer vetoes new gun-theft law, says act is already illegalBy Howard Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star

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

HB 2338 would have made taking someone’s gun an aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony with a presumptive prison term of 2ƒ years.

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 same argument House Minority Leader Chad Campbell made in his unsuccessful attempt to block the measure.

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

And burglary of a home is a Class 3 felony carrying a 3ƒ-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.

The governor also quashed legislation that would have given legal recognition to what amount to party bicycles.

The vehicles, known as motorized quadricycles, have a small motor but mostly are powered by pedaling. But the key is that pedal power can come not only from the operator, but also from up to 14 passengers who sit, facing center, on either side of the bike.

Also known as pub crawlers and beer bikes, they are rented like a limousine. The legislation would make them street legal under the limousine category.

It is that classification that apparently bothered Brewer: Limousine passengers can drink while the vehicle is operating. And that, the governor said, is “inconsistent” with existing laws that prevent people from drinking and carrying open containers of alcoholic beverages in public.

“Furthermore, I am concerned that these vehicles could present a public safety risk and provide little protection to the passengers, particularly if these passengers are drinking alcohol,” she wrote.

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 would be cumbersome  and that the state has no authority to make the federal agency do anything.

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

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Deals, offers & events

View more...