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PHOENIX The Arizona Senate has reversed itself and voted to allow people with concealed-carry permits to take handguns into restaurants that serve alcohol.
The Senate approved the bill on an 18-10 vote Tuesday, one day after it defeated the measure on a 14-14 tie when one supporter was absent. The bill now goes to the House.
Arizona law now generally bans possession of firearms in bars and restaurants selling alcohol.
Under the bill, a permit-holder carrying a weapon into a restaurant serving alcohol would not be allowed to drink. The measure would allow restaurants to deny entry by gun-toting citizens by posting a sign.
It also would reduce the misdemeanor penalty for bringing a gun into a restaurant that doesn't allow the weapons.
Supporters of the bill say the current ban deprives law-abiding citizens of the means to protect themselves and others, and subjects their guns to the risk of theft if they're left in parked vehicles.
"The people that have these permits are probably the most responsible gun owners that we have," Sen. Pam Gorman, R-Anthem, said during Monday's initial vote.
Critics say the change is perilous. "Alcohol and guns do not do well together," said Sen. Ken Cheuvront, D-Phoenix.
The bill covers all alcohol-serving establishments with kitchens that prepare food offered for onsite consumption.