June 22, 2009
Host: Ted Simons
- The legislature is considering a bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Attorney General Terry Goddard opposes the bill and will talk about it.
- Terry Goddard, Arizona Attorney General
Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Right now, you can carry a concealed gun if you undergo training and get a permit. State lawmakers are working on a bill that would allow a concealed carry without a permit. Here now to talk about that bill is Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.
Terry Goddard: Good to be here.
Ted Simons: Why is this proposal a bad idea?
Terry Goddard: Well, A, we have a system that you just described for concealed carry, which is working really well. So I'm of the theory if it's not broke, let's not fix it. And the second reason is what I stand on and law enforcement throughout the state of Arizona has said, it significantly increases the danger, the hidden danger, if you will, to law enforcement officers. They never know in a crowd situation who is or who is not carrying a weapon. That's a real serious problem. Since 1994 when this bill was passed, 125,000 Arizonans have applied for and received a concealed permit. That’s about 10% of gun owners in the state. And they feel they have some need to have the weapon concealed. So they've been able to do that through the existing process and gotten some minimal training on how to handle that gun safely and I think that's a very, very positive thing. It makes us all safer.
Ted Simons: Why should there be a difference between those who carry firearms openly and those who conceal?
Terry Goddard: I think there is a difference, as Judge Kegan, who was the representative who originally proposed this bill in 1994, he said at the time there was in his opinion a quantitative -- qualitative difference between having a gun displayed for law enforcement and the public to see and having it hidden in your coat or pant leg, and for that reason, he believed there was additional danger from both the handling of the gun and to others in the public. And for that reason, we had a separate provision for concealed carry. By no means unusual. 38 other states have concealed carry just like Arizona and I believe that is the mainstream position and one that works very well here and in other states.
Ted Simons: And yet those in support of the bill say, bad guys don't have permit, why hamstring the good guys?
Terry Goddard: You're not hamstringing anyone. If you would like to carry concealed, you can apply for the permit, only 804 in the 15 years it's been around have not gotten the permit. That's because they have a felony or a mental health record that would not allow them to carry under any circumstances. So I believe it's a system that's working extremely well. There was testimony in the legislature on a different bill that said in the minds of the legislators, the people who had concealed carry permits were the most responsible gun owners out there and they could be trusted virtually any situation.
Ted Simons: And yet making the responsible ones getting the training and passing tests and these things, those would be available but only on a volunteer basis, according to the bill. Not good enough for you?
Terry Goddard: No, it isn't. This bill would blow away the current system of training and permit. And replace it with anyone over 18 who owned a gun would be able to carry it in a concealed manner. No pre-requisite, training, no ability to show that you could use it safely or intelligently, and here's the other thing that concerns us a lot. This bill also has a provision that says that public events such as the race cars at P.I.R. or the Tempe block party or -- you name it -- the major public events that right now say that guns are not allowed, this bill would change that. And say if you have a concealed carry permit, you could not be prohibited from bringing your guns to major public events including ones where alcohol is served.
Ted Simons: Other concerns about the current law. Some say it's confusing. If you cover it up in your car, you could be prosecuted. If you untuck your shirt and it's all of a sudden concealed and you don't have a permit, you could be prosecuted. The law as it stands now, is it confusing?
Terry Goddard: No, it's clear. And 125,000 permitees make it very very abundantly clear that it's working and it's out there, if somebody wants or feels they have a need to carry concealed, they can do it with minimal steps to have to go. What I think has been failed to happen here is prevent -- a pervasive case why it needs to change. It seems to me if there's not a reason to change, why are you suddenly adamant to scrap the old system which is used by most states and suddenly adopt a radical change? And in the words of law enforcement, the chiefs that stood with me last week to testify against the bill, chiefs and sheriffs from across the state, basically have the uniform opinion this was going to make the law enforcement officer’s job more dangerous and more dangerous for the general public.
Ted Simons: Are we hearing that from leadership and not necessarily rank and file? I bring it up because there was testimony from a law enforcement officer who said if you don't expect everyone to be armed that you stop, you're not really up to snuff. Shouldn't a police officer always expect that who they're dealing with might be a dangerous individual with a weapon?
Terry Goddard: Absolutely. If you're apprehending a suspect, if you’re pulling over a car where you have no knowledge of who is in it, yes, you treat that as if they're armed and dangerous. But police officers deal with a lot of other situations in the community and that point was made over and over again by both rank and file officers and their chiefs. Crowd control situations are the number one that comes to mind to me. You've got a parade, a public demonstration, like let's say the Tempe block party. What is the officer's response when they have to assume every single person in that crowd may be carrying a concealed weapon? There's a certain obvious show that comes with carrying a gun, which is out in the open and visible to everyone. Those officers in a crowd control situation do not assume that everybody is a dangerous person and can be threatening them. But with this bill, they're going to have an entirely different approach to the general population. The chief from El Mirage made that point well. He said, we need to work with the community. We need a give-and-take constantly, and this is one more way that a wedge is driven between the police officer and the people that he or she needs to work with.
Ted Simons: The sponsor of the bill, representative Allen, a quote here, law enforcement is not in support of citizens protecting themselves. Comment.
Terry Goddard: Not true. Law enforcement is extremely supportive and works together with people. What they're not looking for is handling of weapons in a dangerous manner. Guns that are available to people who may be inebriated and those who don't understand how to handle them. In Arizona, I want to be clear about this, we have a constitutional right to have a gun and a right to possess and wear it and have it out in public for display. You certainly see it all over the state and that's something that's not challenged by this bill. All that is being talked about by the law enforcement folks I represent is that having everybody as a potential concealed carrier is going a step way too far. That basically is adding to the danger, not just to the law enforcement officers, but to the entire public. How do you feel if the person sitting next to you on the bus or a person you're at a sporting event with may or may not be carrying a gun? I know it changes the attitude about the person next to me and I'm going to take a whole different view how I'm watching that person, what I'm going to feel about that the response -- their response to a bad call by the REF.
Ted Simons: Taking away the officiating for now, we hear over and over and supporters of the bill say if more people were armed, concealed or otherwise, fewer crimes would happen because more criminals would know more citizens are armed. You ask why is this being done. That's what I hear more than any other argument. It's almost like the armed society is a polite society argument.
Terry Goddard: You have to go back to the old west, I guess, to see how that worked. They were well armed and not that polite. So I'm not sure that the mutual terror argument is persuasive. I can tell you the police are concerned on a couple of levels. One, you have to treat everybody as potentially armed and dangerous. Number one. Number two, there's a whole lot of gun offenses which this really allows just about any gang banger in Arizona to carry concealed and if the police, if they catch them with the gun have no grounds to take that weapon away from them because they're within their rights, the way 1270 is written, to carry and carry concealed. I think that's a problem for you and me and the police officers dealing with these folks every day. We have a system that's working that helps to not only allow people to carry concealed if that's what they wish to do, but I think it also is doing a good job of protecting the public and police officers who protect us.
Ted Simons: All right. Very good. Thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
Terry Goddard: Thank you.
Iran's Election Protests
- A disputed election in Iran has led to street rallies, resulting in fatalities. Get the latest on the situation in Iran from Thunderbird School of Global Management Professor Paul Kinsinger, who also worked for the CIA.
- Paul Kinsinger - Thunderbird School of Global Management Professor
Ted Simons: The protests continue in Iran over what some are calling a stolen election. Today, police fired live rounds in the air to disperse a crowd of demonstrators. More than a dozen people have died in the protests. It's making for a lot of concern for Arizonans with ties to Iran. I'll talk to an expert about all this, but first, here's how an A.S.U. student from the Iranian student organization sees it.
Amir: I'm upset and sad about the violence in the streets. And -- but I'm still hopeful about the outcome of whatever has happened and whatever is going to happen. The text messaging service, S.M.S., in Iran, where we're disconnected from one -- maybe before the election up to now, there's been over all been disconnected and many phone services has been disconnected periodically. The internet is either disconnected or not available or if it's available, it's very, very slow and people are not available to upload like video, so -- and the international journalists and reporters who were in Iran, their visa expired and they had to leave the country. I don't believe there's an international journalist in Iran. This is what I think. So people, every individual person is now a reporter. They take video, pictures with their cameras, with their cellphones upload it. And whenever they can and however they can. It's not been easy. But they have been doing it. And they have been using like facebook or twitter or email to distribute their -- the news. I have talked to my parents a few times. They're fine. But I'm concerned about my own family and friends and family members and even the people who I -- they're my fellow Iranians and country mates and don't want anything but justice and they're being killed for asking for justice. Trying to have their own voice heard on the street, but they're not being allowed to.
Ted Simons: Here now to talk about the turmoil in Iran is Paul Kinsinger, a clinical professor of business intelligence at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale. He is also formerly with the C.I.A. Thanks for joining us.
Paul Kinsinger: Thanks for asking me. I appreciate it.
Ted Simons: Is there more being protested in Iran other than election results?
Paul Kinsinger: Well, that's a great question. I think it's becoming even clearer as we go along that that's probably the case. The election is just the -- it's the tip of the iceberg. It's a pretty big tip we're seeing above the water line, but the sense I have is that the actual tumult behind the opposition is -- the TUMULT represents a deeper sense they want to see Iran become a more modern place and loosen its hostility to the outside world and have the revolution move into a moderate stance in middle age.
Ted Simons: How likely is it that we will see a changed Iran, either in the ways you mentioned or ways we can't even perceive right now?
Paul Kinsinger: That's the big question right now and I don't think anyone has an answer to that. I think at this point, it remains pretty clear that the regime, the hard line regime is in power and intends to do what it has to to stay in power. As things unfold over the next several days and weeks, there's a lot of things that could happen that could start to change that. And we'll see. There's some events this week. There's -- there appears to be news out of Iran that the ruling -- the rulers are having a debate. I doubt we'll see that the hard line will say, ok, you know what? The jig is up. We're stepping down. That's not going to happen. But it is possible that out of this could come some movement that could lead to a loosening of the threads of hard line power that have been there. I give that a remote chance at this point. But there's a thread or two -- a thread or two.
Ted Simons: Is there a better chance to see loosening or a harder line?
Paul Kinsinger: Also a great question and I think if I had to bet right now, I'd say I think the chances of any fair -- are fairly remote at this point. I think the chances that things go harder over a longer period of time are maybe a little bit less than loosening and I say that only because there appears to be some concern at the top of the theocracy, the ruling mullahs, over the way the things should go. The sense is in the hands of those who want to crack down on the opposition and keep the current regime in power. But we'll see how things unfold this week.
Ted Simons: Yeah, the internet, twitter, YouTube, these things, how much of an impact is that having? The old line, the revolution will be televised. It sounds like it will be on youtube pretty soon.
Paul Kinsinger: It's been fascinating to watch this whole thing. Those around the world who remember the revolution of the late '70s will remember that technology played a great role in that. The SHAH and the regime in Iran tried desperately to crack down in the late 70’s and the thing that was getting through were audiotape of and smuggling into Iran and listened to by the revolutionaries in Iran all over the place. The SHAH could not stop it. That was the technology of the day. The audiotape. Today we have the current version of that, the internet, basically. And here in the west, we look at YouTube, facebook, myspace and twitter, all of which are kind of a cultural social phenomenon. In Iran, you can bet the regime are looking at this as a viral infection.
Ted Simons: Indeed. Do we really know what's going on other than -- you can see a little bit of video here. There's a gruesome video of a young woman. But how do you get a big picture when it's so small?
Paul Kinsinger: I don't think anyone is getting the big picture and I think that's what the regime is trying to control. Because of technology, there's so many little pictures available. And it's like pixels in a high-screen definition TV. There's so many pixels available that even the connecting of a few of them give you a glimpse of what's going on, and just as you pointed out, the shot of this young woman and her death, the picture is worth a thousand words even if it's coming across the cellphone. This has got to be driving the regime nuts. They wish they could snuff this all out. But they can’t. Iran, as much as it's perceived as being hostile, it's not a south Korea or a Burma, where they turned off the electricity and living on dirt floors so they can control everything. Iran is not that country. It's very much connected to the outside world and this is part of the price they pay for that.
Ted Simons: Talk about America's role in this situation. Are we doing the right thing right now? What should we not be doing?
Paul Kinsinger: I believe we're doing the right thing right now. That is to speak softly and watch closely what's going on. Americans over 40 remember the outrage over the fall of the Shah and the holding of hostages for 300 and 60 some odd days. Everybody remembers that searing event but so too in Iran does any Iranian remember the British and American role and the coup that brought the Shah back to power. As a result, the United States and United Kingdom are blamed for everything. There's no way we can have a positive influence on things in Iran if we start speaking out and trumpeting the goals of -- trumpeting the goals of the opposition. The opposition that has not asked anyone for help. They're doing fine just by themselves. This is an Iranian issue. They know it. We have to be careful. What are our real goals? We would like a moderate government that is willing to be part of a family of nations again. There's virtually nothing we can do to make that happen.
Ted Simons: With that said, most folks, the average Joe and Jane over in Iran and in the suburbs, do they still at their core distrust, dislike, even hate the United States?
Paul Kinsinger: You know, most of what is understood about this is that you have a kind of bifurcation in Iran. There's 60 some odd million Iranians, and including a large community in the United States, the sense I have is that the Iranian people generally have a fairly warm feeling toward America, toward the west, toward cultural exchanges and greater freedom and the ability to be part of the world again. This is an ancient, very highly civilized and very proud culture. This is not a hermit kingdom. It wants to be connected to the outside world and I believe that millions of Iranians, especially the 70% under 30 years old -- a striking statistic. The government-to-government relations that come up out of the coup and the fall of the SHAH in the late '70s.
Ted Simons: Could the government provoke an incident with an Arab neighbor somehow with the United States to take the concentration off the demonstrations and put it on whatever happens to wander by?
Paul Kinsinger: That's the fear. If the regime finds itself hard enough pressed that it will find some incident to turn the attention to some outside peril. I think that's going to be a harder sell in this case in Iran. I think things have gotten along too far on that. The opposition to the regime, to the fraudulent election, is so substantial that I believe it would be difficult to convince all of those people to put everything behind them and say, oh, it's the U.S. It's Israel again. Let's get in line behind the regime. That doesn't mean they won't try it. That's one of reasons that I believe that the United States over all of the western powers has to be the most careful over the way we talk about what's going on in Iran. If we align ourselves too much with the opposition, it will give the regime the excuse they need to squelch them.
Ted Simons: Unstable Iran, unstable middle east follows?
Paul Kinsinger: Yeah, it's a very remote thing right now because this is a contained issue. But an unstable Iran has unstable neighbors that it plays a role in. Secondly, the Israeli equation because if an Iranian government to reach out and try to start something with Israel over this, is a way to tip the balance in this debate, that would be huge.
Ted Simons: We have to stop it there. Paul, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
Paul Kinsinger: Thank you. My pleasure.