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Brewer, key leaders see no reason to curb high-capacity ammo clips

Brewer, key leaders see no reason to curb high-capacity ammo clips

They also stand by vote to let any adult carry gun concealed without permit

PHOENIX - Gov. Jan Brewer and Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce said they see no reason for Arizona to limit the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines. And House Speaker Kirk Adams said through a spokesman he has no plans to alter any of Arizona's gun laws.

All three continue to support last year's legislative decision to let any adult carry a concealed weapon without a state permit, making Arizona the only state with large urban areas to do so. Vermont and Alaska are the other two.

And all three maintain their belief that more people carrying guns is the best thing for public safety.

There is no indication that the Jan. 8 Tucson shootings are slowing the move toward allowing people to carry guns in more places. Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, continues to push legislation to let those who have concealed weapons permits carry guns on community college and state university campuses.

Brewer, who has an A-plus rating from the National Rifle Association, said the sole blame for the shootings eight days ago should be on the person who pulled the trigger.

Jared Lee Loughner is accused of emptying 31 rounds from his Glock 9 mm at a "Congress on Your Corner" event, enabling him to hit 19 people before he had to reload. It was when he needed that other clip, witnesses said, that they were able to stop him.

"I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the magazine or the caliber of the gun," Brewer said. "The guy is a madman. Our justice system will hold him accountable."

Even if the shooter's weapon had held fewer bullets, "he'd have another gun, maybe," she said. "He could have three guns in his pocket. I believe in the Second Amendment, as did Gabby Giffords," the congresswoman critically wounded in the Jan. 8 shootings.

Federal law banned the manufacture of magazines with more than 10 rounds from 1994 until 2004. But the sale of already existing clips remained legal.

Even after the federal ban expired, several states and a few cities have their own laws limiting how many bullets a gun can hold.

Pearce called the question of high-capacity magazines "a difficult issue."

"The real issue is about Second Amendment rights," Pearce said. He said that it's wrong to look at the question of whether individuals need a weapon with 33 bullets to defend themselves.

"Our founders believed not only that it was your God-given right, an inalienable right to bear arms," said Pearce, who also maintains an A-plus rating from the NRA.

"They also believed as an adult citizen, 18 years old, you must be prepared to defend your nation," Pearce said, making that right about more than just self-defense.

Pearce was the sponsor of last year's legislation to eliminate the requirement to get a permit to carry concealed weapons.

A possibility of making it easier for criminals to carry hidden weapons is irrelevant, he said. "Bad guys are bad guys."

Pearce said perhaps what was needed in Tucson was more people carrying guns. "Somebody could have saved lives had they been armed and prepared to deal with that down in Tucson," he said.

Adams press aide Daniel Scarpinato said his boss, like Brewer and Pearce, is "a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and endorsed by the NRA. ... His view is that Arizona protects the Second Amendment probably better than any other state in the country," Scarpinato said.

"He's proud of having supported all of the laws that have contributed to Arizona being a pro-Second Amendment state," including eliminating the requirement to obtain a state permit.

Scarpinato said Adams, rated A-minus by the NRA, was not prepared to address the question of high-capacity magazines, or any of Arizona's existing gun laws, right now.

Making policy decisions days after an event like this results in "emotional and reactionary decisions," he said.

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