Arizona is apparently going to be the third state (after Vermont and Alaska) to allow the carry of concealed firearms without a permit. As a supporter of very liberal gun laws (and of course by "liberal" I mean "nonrestrictive"), I'd like to think this is a step in the right direction. When states such as Florida and Texas began issuing concealed carry permits a number of years ago, gun control advocates declared that the sky would become thick with lead. Of course, such a thing never happened. And permit-free carry has been legal in Vermont for much longer, and I don't think anybody would consider that state an example of a violent place.
Meanwhile, a bill in Iowa that would make concealed carry permit acquisition significantly easier for many awaits Gov. Chet Culver's signature. While certainly not as permissive as the aforementioned states policies, it's light-years ahead of where we're at this moment. Currently, an Iowa resident applying for a concealed carry permit can get one at the sheriff's discretion, which has resulted in 99 different state policies. Some sheriffs give them out freely, others deny them to virtually everyone. My own county (Black Hawk) is known for being somewhere in the middle, leaning towards permissive. If signed into law, this bill will effectively ensure that a sheriff can't turn you down just because he doesn't like the way you walk or thinks only the police should carry guns. I personally never cherished the thought of having to beg a police officer for permission to exercise what I see as a right.