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Arizona lawmakers approve bill allowing guns in bars

[Source: Jonathan Cooper, Associated Press] — The Arizona Senate has given final approval to a bill that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to carry a gun into a business that serves alcohol.  The 19-8 vote completes legislative action on the bill and sends it to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer.  She has not said whether she will sign it, but she has long been a supporter of gun rights.  The measure has pitted powerful groups representing gun and bar owners against each other, sparking a debate about whether guns and alcohol can coexist without bloodshed.

Critics of the measure say guns and alcohol are a dangerous combination.  “We don’t let people drink and drive, why should we let them drink and carry guns?” said Sen. Paula Aboud, D-Tucson, who voted against the bill.

Supporters say they should be able to protect themselves and their families even if they happen to be inside a business serving alcohol.  “It’s very important that criminals are now afraid rather than law abiding citizens,” said Sen. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, the bill’s sponsor.

The measure would ban drinking while packing and allow restaurants to deny entry to gun-toting citizens by posting a sign next to their liquor license.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]