Arizona Officials Trust the People With Guns; Connecticut Pols Don't


formatted dad / flickr

I've carried a gun for self-defense on and off for over 20 years. The specific gun has varied, and so have the circumstances. In that time, I've lived in Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, back to New York, and Arizona. The major change over that time is that in Arizona, it's actually legal for me to posess the means of self-defense on my person without special (and hard-to-get) permission from the government. I raise the issue because the CTPost has a piece contrasting (not especially well) the widely different legislative reactions in Connecticut and Arizona in response to high-profile violent crimes.

Basically, Connecticut set out to disarm its population, while Arizona moved to make self-defense easier.

At the CTPost, Jessica Boehm and Sarah Ferris write:

Four months after the elementary school shooting in Newtown, lawmakers in Connecticut banned at least 115 types of semi-automatic firearms.

Four months after the shooting of a congresswoman and a federal judge in Tucson, lawmakers in Arizona declared the Colt Army Action Revolver the official state gun.

The similarities in the attacks were striking: Both were carried out by heavily armed young men with histories of mental illness. But in the aftermath of the tragedies, the states took radically different approaches to gun violence.

The differences reflect the wide divide separating Americans from one end of the country to the other, in which long-established gun cultures collide with efforts to restrict gun ownership.

While Connecticut took extreme measures to muscle through one of the most comprehensive packages of gun laws in the country, Arizona legislators moved to make it easier to carry guns in public.

While the CTPost piece covers some of the sausage-making process involved in producing Connecticut's "assault weapons" ban, it's sketchy on the details of that legislation. There's no mention of the rushed, debate-bypassing emergency certification process to pass the hodge-podge of ill-defined terms and impossible-to-enforce restrictions.

Nor is there mention of the scores of thousands of state residents that have refused to abide by the law, technically becoming overnight felons—and driving hyperventilating editorialists to demand mass arrests.

By contrast, the article focuses on the failures of anti-gun activists in Arizona. But there have been a lot of legislative successes, too. In 2010 (admittedly, before the Newtown shooting or the attempt on Gabby Gifford's life), Arizona rescinded requirements for a permit to carry a gun concealed.

Arizona last year required government agencies that conduct gun "buybacks" of unwanted weapons to resell them to the public so that people can get self-defense use from them (some agencies were destroying them). At the same time, localities were forbidden to keep lists of gun owners.

Anti-gunners will, no doubt, point to the higher violent crime rate in Arizona relative to Connecticut (428.9 per 100,000 population vs. 283.0, in 2012). But the Centers for Disease Control reviewed a wide variety of firearms laws, including "bans on specified firearms or ammunition," without being able to find a connection. "[W]e do not yet know what effect, if any, the law has on an outcome."

That makes restrictive gun laws a mass experiment in denying liberty and threatening people with fines and prison without any evidence that something is to be gained in the process.

And that's before you get to the major philosophical differences in the Connecticut and Arizona approaches.

While neither state is a perfect example of a type, on this issue Connecticut politicians act as rulers who fear their subjects and want further controls on people in order to somehow increase safety. Arizona lawmakers reduce restrictions on their constituents with the stated goal of making it easier for them to defend themselves without government interference.

The big difference betwen Arizona and Connecticut isn't gun policy; it's the relationship between the people and their government. As protests rage in Ferguson, Missouri, over heavy-handed government use of force, that's a relationship that, very obviously, matters.

NEXT: 57 Percent of Americans Say Only Kids Who Win Should Get Trophies

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “[W]e do not yet know what effect, if any, the law has on an outcome.”

    We have to take your guns to find out what will happen.

    1. That’s exactly their attitude here in the “People’s Republlic of Connecticut”, where they think the people are too stoopid to be allowed to make their own decisions.

  2. That holster does not entirely cover the trigger guard.

    I disapprove, and so should you.

    1. “Colt Action Army Revolver”

      Does the media sound this stupid to everybody that knows something about anything they are talking about, or is it just me and guns?

      1. The reporter was worried that if said “Single Action Army” it would be a political statement not approed by his editors.

      2. It’s everyone.

        Tom Sowell’s hair only went gray when he started listening to media explanations of the 2008 housing collapse.

      3. Though if you’re going to have a state gun, you could do worse than a Colt .45.

        1. I’m a CZ man myself, but both the SAA and 1911 have that certain something.

        2. Yes you could, especially if you are Arizona. Really, what else could be the state gun other than the Colt .45?

          Thinking of what the state gun should be for every state would make an interesting parlor game.

          Colorado – the .270 deer rifle
          Maryland – the Berretta 20 gauge shotgun for duck hunting on the Chesapeake
          Florida – the .22 caliber varmunt rifle for hunting swamp varmunts.
          Alaska – .450 Marlin (bear rifle)

          1. PA – Winchester 94, .30-30, carbine length, top ejector.

            1. Oh for Pete’s sake, no no no, a flintlock long rifle. Screw Kentucky.

          2. Kansas, the .25 caliber coyote rifle.

          3. Seeing as i can’t walk to my mailbox without something blowing at me from the trees, I’ll go with the good old .30-06 for Tennessee.

            1. So if I move to Tennessee I’ll fit right in with my Remington 700 BDL?

              1. In my neck of the woods folks would scoff at you people and your fancy rifle, which probably isn’t even older than you.

                Most of my relatives hunt with military surplus; I have an uncle who uses an SKS that judging from the markings is a Chinese rifle that happened to end up at a local gun shop in the 70s or 80s.

          4. Alaska – .450 Marlin (bear rifle)

            that is beautiful.

            1. It really is. I love those things.

            2. Not the S&W 500 mag handgun?

          5. Massachusetts: Caracal Model C

          6. Washington – Super Soaker Squirt Gun. Orange tip, of course.

          7. For CA, it should be the 300 Blackout subsonic round with a suppressor for hunting feral pigs. Of course, suppressors are illegal here, and I don’t know if it’s possible to get 300 Blackout in non-lead form. Gawd, CA is a reservoir of stupid.

            1. Don’t forget the up thingie!

        3. Michigan – MAC 10. Wait! That’s just Detroit – the rest of the state gets a nice, scoped Marlin 336 in 30-30.

    2. But it does cover the trigger itself, which is the main safety requirement.

      1. I noted that it was a double action only 1911 variant on second inspection, which does make it a less egregious error, but I would still prefer a full coat on the guard. Who makes those, Para?

  3. I bet the two quoted violent crime rates were relatively the same ten years ago too, and that neither state’s recent legislation had much effect.

    But I know where I’d rather live, at least politically. Climate-wise, both suck.

    1. Meh. Flagstaff isn’t completely terrible.

      1. Flagstaff isn’t completely terrible beautiful. And inexpensive to boot.

        What is it, Major Lawrence, that attracts you personally to the desert?

        It’s clean.

        1. +1 Thank you for that very illuminating answer

        2. I’d give my left ovary to live in Flagstaff again.

    2. I’m too lazy to look up the stats for total crime, but for homicide, arizona’s rate went from 7.0 (per 100,000) to 5.5 from 2000 to 2012, while connecticut’s went from 2.9 to 4.1 in that time frame. The national rate fell in that time frame as well.…..icide_rate

      1. Hmmm, hadn’t expected that big a change in such a short time. Thanks!

  4. Arizona last year required government agencies that conduct gun “buybacks” of unwanted weapons to resell them to the public so that people can get self-defense use from them (some agencies were destroying them). At the same time, localities were forbidden to keep lists of gun owners.

    That is awesome.

    And a crude comparison of violent crime rates between the two states is meaningless, since there are a ton of variables that contribute to the violent crime rate. Gun controllers can point to that statistic, but it will only convince the scientifically illiterate.

    1. but it will only convince the scientifically illiterate.

      So it will convince a majority.

      1. Pretty much that.

    2. In Chicago the buy-backs had some strings attached to them later because people from down state were bringing in old junkers that were worth less than what they were being bought for. They then used the money to buy ammo for youth shooting programs.

      1. The buy backs are completely idiotic for that reason. They just get people to turn in their old guns and use the money to buy new ones. They are essentially cash for clunkers for the gun makers.

  5. The big difference between Arizona and Connecticut isn’t gun policy; it’s the…

    People who live there. Yeah, I said it!

  6. Imagine a world where Connecticut, New Jersey and California made all the hunting laws for the entire country.

    Deer hunting shall be allowed on private property subject to the following restrictions:

    1) Each hunter must wear hunters orange which completely covers the body, the undergarments must be hunter’s orange; and

    2) Each hunter must wear an alarm sounding his presence while in the woods; and

    3) It shall be illegal to use any weapon that could cause death or injury; and

    4) Provided no such hunter actually wounds or kills a deer. Photographs of the animals may be allowed subject to game warden approval.

    1. New Jersey actually does have deer hunting, with none of those restrictions.

      1. Deer are a plague on the East Coast. Every state has hunting. They actually hired professional hunters to hunt the deer in Rock Creek Park in Washington DC. The deer population has gotten so large they had ate all of the saplings in the park and if something wasn’t done the park would become treeless as the existing trees died of old age and there were no new trees to replace them.

        1. A while back on one of the islands over here they hired a professional hunter to cull the deer herd. The residents were all excited because they thought they’d get the meat. Well, due to some quirk in the law they had to destroy all the meat. I don’t remember exactly why. Taken out of season or something. Government could fuck up a wet dream.

          1. Even DC isn’t that stupid. They took the meat and gave it to homeless shelters.

            1. Can’t do that anymore in many places. You are giving lead infused meat to teh chilrenz.

              1. No shit? We really are devolving back into the dark ages.

                1. Yeah, someone sent me a news story on it a few years back. Can’t remember which state it was, but as I recall it was one of the leaning to the UV side of the spectrum.

              2. Is it really because of the lead? I thought it was more to do with things that might make you sick.

                1. There was one of those floating around too. Lead and meat that wasn’t “government inspected”.

          2. There was a glut of deer on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. I probably have the exact sequence wrong, but it went something like this ….

            Bring in hunters to cull the excess. Charge them a hefty license (hunters were willing) and donate the meat to homeless shelters (hunters were willing).

            Horrors! How cruel!

            How about bow hunters!

            Even worse!

            So they ended up sending over feed during the winter because the damned deer were so underfed. Maybe rescued them to relocate elsewhere. I forget. It was squeamish nannyism at its best.

            1. I’ve actually heard (don’t have the cite) of communities that suggested capturing and neutering. NO SHIT!

              1. I live in one of those communities. People had a heart attack over the idea of whacking the deer population. Deer are cute for God’s sake.

                They are real cute right up until you hit one in your car. You can either let them overrun the place, hunt them or re-introduce large predators like cougars or wolves. I am pretty sure these idiots won’t like having Wild Kingdom in their back yards. So hunting seems pretty sensible.

              2. Having lived half my life in country that is completely infested by giant, antler-wielding rats that do billions of dollars in agricultural damage each year, I encourage them to take up a collection for their spay-the-does initiative (neutering would be moronic, but probably par for the course).

                And, when the doe you spent $500 to spay wanders into a corn field with a dozen of her best friends, the farmer will still shoot as many of them as possible, because these things are avatars of agricultural destruction.

                1. And on top of the damage to crops, almost everyone I know in my region has hit a deer with his car. Some people have hit a deer with every car they own. I narrowly avoided a serious collision a couple of months ago when one went head-first into my passenger-side door.

                  The worst part (and part of why I’m a libertarian): White-tailed deer are not native to the region, but were introduced by the TWRA a few decades ago. The state sold the initiative to the public by trumpeting how much better off we’d be by adding deer hunting to the traditional squirrel, rabbit, and quail hunting of generations past.

                  TWRA agents would cart deer around in trailers on the back of their pickups, then just release them on the side of the road. Because what’s the worst that could happen?

                  1. Knarf,

                    In fairness, the hunters’ obsession with getting bucks hasn’t helped matters. Since a single buck can do the nasty with any number of does, taking down the buck population does nothing to reduce the overall population. You have to kill the does. I am pretty sure in most states you have to take so many does before you can take a buck, which is as it should be.

                  2. almost everyone I know in my region has hit a deer with his car


                    I put a grill guard on my pickup. Pays for itself after one deer.

                    1. Fransisco,

                      The whistle things that you put on your outside mirrors work really well. I don’t know a person who has one that has ever hit a deer.

                    2. Wal-Marts have sold those things by the case for the past twenty years. From what I can tell, they’re about as effective as tiger repellent.

              3. Fire Island, NY.

                1. Fire Island, NY

                  This was in reply to

                  Francisco d’Anconia|8.19.14 @ 12:02PM|#

                  I’ve actually heard (don’t have the cite) of communities that suggested capturing and neutering. NO SHIT!

                  1. How the hell are there deer on Fire Island? It’s like a narrow strip of beach. Those buggers get everywhere?

                    1. My understanding is that deer swim pretty well, but just as likely people introduced them, because people are like that. On Block Island, they introduced eight deer less than 50 years ago, and now the island is overrun to the point where they’re hiring professional hunters. (They do allow some private hunting, but the winter population of humans is so low there aren’t really enough hunters, and the island’s so chopped up into small properties that it limits the amount of effective hunting you can do.)

        2. You can either let them overrun the place, hunt them or re-introduce large predators like cougars or wolves.

          or, you know, people.

      2. I know, but I’m thinking that if they all the progs and urbanites in those states could conspire and have their way, there would be no hunting of any kind anywhere.

        1. True story. PETA, yes PETA runs a kill shelter for stray cats and dogs. They murder thousands of strays every year. Their justification is that they are giving them a humane death since they would probably die a painful death if left as a stray.

          That is not an entirely irrational position. The only problem is that you could say exactly the same thing about deer or any other game animal. Yet, I am pretty sure PETA objects to hunting of any sort. They are all about killing animals, provided they are killing animals that people like and want to save.

          It almost makes you think the organization is really about hating people rather than loving animals. You know?

          1. It almost makes you think the organization is really about hating people rather than loving animals. You know?

            I’ve had the “fortune” of knowing a few PETAites in my life, and they all have the same exact character flaw. They suck at human interaction because of their superiority complex. Animals are the only ones who treat them like the special snowflakes they are.

            1. I dated an attorney for PETA in law school for a few months. She was a vegan. That part was a pain in the ass but she was very thin and had great tits, so I didn’t mind. She was pretty socially adept and a good time in bed and out.

              It didn’t last though. Eventually, there was no way she was going to stay with some meat eating Midwestern guy like me. I think she just wanted a break from the metro sexual sensitive guys she usually dated. A good time was had by all I think.

              1. Well sounds like you had a good time and that’s what matters most! Is she the one that put you off skinny chicks? Or were you tired of dating all the curvalicious ones? 😉

                1. I like skinny chicks. I just like them to have boobs and curves.

          2. It almost makes you think the organization is really about hating people rather than loving animals. You know?

            So, People for the Unethical Treatment of Humans (PUTH)?

      3. New Jersey actually does have deer hunting, with none of those restrictions.

        Shotgun only deer hunting. So, no, NJ has no deer hunting.

        1. What is wrong with using a shotgun?

            1. It always did to me too. But I find deer hunting to be mind numbingly boring. So I always thought that having to stalk them close enough to use a shotgun might make it more interesting.

        2. Shotgun only deer hunting

          Dang. I know pretty much nothing about hunting or deer and even I realize how stupid that is. Sounds like a stealth ban.

          1. That’s what slugs are for.

            1. And rifled barrels.

          2. Southern Wisconsin is shotgun-only for deer. Use a rifled slug barrel, and slugs. I have a spooky accurate setup on mine, just be pure luck. Once I figured out the right ammo to feed it, it put up 1 and a half inch groups at 100 yards.

            You use shotguns in areas with a lot of people, because the slugs don’t carry. A saboted 12 gauge slug is .50 cal, and massive. It puts the deer down, and at a reasonable distance.

      4. CT too. I don’t think any state has come close to banning hunting.

    2. Private property? What are you, some kind of anarchist?! /libderp

  7. If the events in Ferguson prove anything, it’s that only agents of the State can be trusted with weapons.


  8. “Arizona lawmakers reduce restrictions on their constituents…”

    Unless you’re a tranny or you look mexican…

    1. I’m pretty sure that firearms laws apply to transexuals, women, and persons of color as well. Maybe you can check the legislation for us just to be sure.

      1. So they’re okay with guns. So what? It’s just a bone they throw rather than a sign that they’re any freer than another state. I doubt it’s comforting to the born US citizen named Ramirez that while he’s being held illegally under suspicion of being an illegal his gun is safe.

        1. Uhhh…I’m pretty sure Mr. Ramirez would rather sit at the police station in AZ for an hour while they look up his SS#, than do 3 years in prison in CT for possession of an illegal firearm.

    2. Exactly what legal “restrictions” have Arizona lawmakers placed on trannies, mexicans, or blacks?

      1. I don’t know about the ‘trannies’ aspect, but I imagine the part about Mexicans relates to SB 1070.

        1. Look up Reason’s coverage of Monica Jones for the tranny angle.

        2. SB 1070 relates to illegal immigrants, not mexicans. There are an estimated 400,000-500,000 illegals in Arizona that are mexican or hispanic. One in four mexican/hispanics in Arizona are in the country illegally, so it’s perfectly logical to concentrate immigration enforcement efforts on mexicans/hispanics.

          1. Derpity Derp

            1. Fuck off, dip-shit. Immigration laws exist for a reason, and are useless unless they are enforced. Perhaps you’d feel more comfortable if Arizona cops emulated the TSA and questioned more 87 year-old white women driving handicapped vans, instead of car-loads of hispanics driving north from the border.

    3. This fallacy is known as a Non Sequitur.

    4. Huh? There are no restrictions based on appearance or behaviors, except for felons which is pretty much in all states.

      Since 30% of AZ residents are Hispanic with most of them being US citizens and legal immigrants, it would be kind of hard for a cop to NOT interact with someone of Hispanic descent for any reason. Plus we have a large number of police who are Hispanic or other minority. So, the 1070 brush is overly broad.

      FYI. SB 1070 only allowed police to ask about legal status after a lawful stop. A drivers license or other gov ID would be sufficient proof of citizenship and would stop that line of questioning right there. Thus this is a strawman argument.

  9. Arizona legislators moved to make it easier to carry guns in public.

    The Montana legislature tried this, and that worthless fucking left wing authoritarian shitbag Bullock vetoed it, at the behest of his close friends in the law enforcement community.

    1. Why do our fellow Montanans keep voting for a Democrat for governor?

      It’s a shame Montana’s becoming so purple.

  10. Federalism at work. Right?
    The canonical argument is that those opposed ‘vote with their feet’. Thing is, I’m pretty sure no one in AZ wants an influx of folks from CT.

    1. We’re more worried about the loons from California… ;-0

  11. “, lawmakers in Connecticut banned at least 115 types of semi-automatic firearms.”

    Is that meant to be ‘models’?

    Because i didn’t realize John Browning was THAT prolific.

  12. Nor is there mention of the scores of thousands of state residents that have refused to abide by the law, technically becoming overnight felons?and driving hyperventilating editorialists to demand mass arrests.

    Those people were just exploiting a loophole in the law, which has now been closed.

  13. My wife and I applied for our CCL in Texas almost a year ago and since Austin was so backed up with permit requests (the mandated class time was reduced from 8 hours to 4 last September, I think) we didn’t even receive them until we moved to California in May.

    I know its bad, but how difficult is it to get a CCW in LA? I tried googling all the necessary steps, but there are so many different insturctions and the official state website is murky as hell. Have any of you guys successfully navigated this issue in CA? Any advice?

    1. Move back to Texas.

  14. Any advice?

    Get something cheap (like a High Point), and don’t get emotionally attached to it.

  15. That’s what slugs are for.

    I was watching some gun nut show, and they were shooting slugs from a 12g. I was amazed. I had no idea how accurate a shotgun slug can be.

    1. Get some “beehive”/flechette rounds… Marines used to have them, I think.

  16. First off, these numbers are for ALL homicides, not just firearm related.

    When looking at AZ crime stats please remember that we have/saw a large spike in human smuggling related crimes and homicides. For example, there were at least 6 bodies of Hispanic males dumped in the desert around Buckeye in the Phoenix West Valley that were never solved (about 10 miles from where I live). More than likely they were illegals or smugglers (coyotes) killed because they couldn’t come up with more money for their smuggling or by rival factions. I doubt if there were every identified too.

    Finally, I have at least two neighbors that carry and others at my church that also carry. I’ve never seen nor heard of them acting out. They all are very careful and quiet about doing it. I’ve been to lunch in a restaurant with one while open carrying and no one in the place with 40+ people in it even commented on it.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.