by Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter. April 9, 2010 at 12:00 PM PDT
  

Within the next week, Arizona could become the first state with a large urban population to allow U.S. citizens to carry a concealed firearm without a permit throughout the state of Arizona. Only Alaska and Vermont have similar laws.

The Arizona House voted Thursday to make the state the third in the nation to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, sending the governor a bill that would allow Arizonans to forego background checks and classes that are now required.

Currently, in Arizona carrying a hidden firearm without a permit is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

Senate Bill 1108, crafted by Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday with a vote of 36-19 and no comments from either side.

“This is a big day,” National Rifle Association lobbyist Matt Dogali said. “This is a major restoration of a principal right.” More