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Arizona Shoots Down Guns-in-Bar Bill

April 26, 2005|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill Monday that would have let people bring their guns into bars and restaurants as long as they weren't drinking alcohol, and the businesses didn't prohibit firearms.

Arizona law bans firearms in bars and restaurants that sell alcohol.

The bill's supporters said current law deprived citizens of protection and subjected their guns to the risk of theft if they were left in vehicles parked outside bars or restaurants. The measure was passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Critics said the legislation would lead to confrontations in bars and increases in insurance premiums for the businesses. It was opposed by law enforcement organizations and groups representing cities and operators of bars, restaurants and hotels.

In a brief veto letter, Napolitano, a Democrat, called herself a "strong supporter of the Second Amendment," but noted the opposition by law enforcement and said she was sympathetic to the concerns of property owners.

A year ago, lawmakers narrowly defeated a similar measure in the Senate.

During testimony on last year's bill, supporters cited an October 1991 shooting in which a woman who had left her gun in her vehicle watched as her parents were killed along with 21 other people in a cafeteria in Killeen, Texas.

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