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Guns now allowed on college campuses in Arizona?

Guns will be allowed on college campuses if Gov Jan Brewer signs this bill?

There are two problems with the bill. First guns still will not be allowed in class rooms.

Second some people say that because "public rights of way" is not defined in the law you could be arrested by overzealous cops who don't like people with guns.


Arizona House OKs bill allowing guns on campus

by Alia Beard Rau - Apr. 8, 2011 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

The Arizona House gave final approval to a measure that will allow guns on college campuses, although it doesn't go so far as to allow them inside buildings or classrooms.

Senate Bill 1467 passed 33-24, with several Republicans and all present Democrats voting against the measure. The final version of the bill requires state community colleges and universities to allow both concealed and openly carried weapons in their public rights of way, which would likely include public roads and adjacent sidewalks.

The original version would have allowed guns everywhere on college campuses, including in classrooms. Bill sponsor Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, said he narrowed the scope to assure the bill's passage.

SB 1467 now goes to Gov. Jan Brewer, who has five days to sign it, veto it or do nothing and allow it to become law.

Brewer spokesman Matthew Benson declined to comment on whether Brewer will sign the measure. She has historically been supportive of measures expanding gun rights.

Currently, Arizona and 24 other states allow public colleges and universities to make their own decisions about regulating firearms on campus. None in Arizona allows the public to carry guns on campus.

Utah is the only state to require public colleges and universities to allow concealed weapons everywhere on campus. The Texas Senate was scheduled to vote Thursday on a measure that would do that as well, but delayed the vote as support weakened.

Faculty organizations at all three of Arizona's public universities have passed resolutions opposing SB 1467, and campus law enforcement testified against it.

Several Democrats said they were concerned that the bill did not define what qualified as a public right of way and so would allow guns on campus pathways or open outdoor areas. Republican supporters dispute that, saying there is no definition of right of way elsewhere in state statute. The matter will likely be left to the courts to resolve if the bill becomes law.

Five Republican state representatives voted against the bill.

"I'm extremely troubled by our desire to put weapons on an educational campus," said Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler. "It makes absolutely no sense if you've been on a college campus and recognize the emotional highs and lows that students have."

Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, opposed the bill and said it was part of an incremental effort to expand where guns are allowed. "Next year it'll be in the classroom [sounds great to me!], and then it's only a matter of time before it gets to K-12," [that should stop bullies that steal kids lunch money!] she said.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, an Arizona State University professor, said she's always been proud of the fact that Arizona has some of the most lenient gun laws in the nation, but she said this bill crosses the line.

"The idea of guns on campus is just so morally objectionable to me that I can absolutely not vote yes," she said. "When parents across the United States decide where to send their kids, they are going to have to take into consideration that there could be guns on campus."

But bill supporters said SB 1467 would improve campus safety and solve the problem of gun owners finding themselves in violation of campus regulations by simply driving through campus on a public right of way with a gun in their car. State statute already allows guns on city streets, sidewalks and other public rights of way.

"This is a reasonable bill," said Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert. "It doesn't take guns into any facilities. It's not going to increase violence. It just gives reasonable access to the right of way."

Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said the bill was not about putting guns on campus but about allowing people to defend themselves.

"You don't know when a criminal is going to carry a gun anywhere," Gowan said. "That's the purpose of carrying a gun with you, to defend yourself."

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


Bill to allow guns on university campuses goes to Arizona governor

Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 12:42 pm

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services East Valley Tribune

State representatives voted Thursday to let people carry their guns through university and community college campuses, likely paving the way for a lawsuit to define exactly where that can and cannot occur.

SB 1467 would prohibit school officials from enacting any rule or regulation that keeps individuals from carrying a weapon in a “public right of way.’’ But nowhere in the legislation is that defined.

Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, said that is likely to lead to a situation where a dispute erupts between someone carrying a gun and campus police who say that person is violating campus rules. And that dispute, he said, likely will have to be resolved by a judge.

The 33-24 vote on measure, which already has been approved by the Senate, sends it to Gov. Jan Brewer. Brewer has signed every measure easing gun restrictions that has been sent to her since taking office more than two years ago.

The legislation is a stripped-down version of the original proposal to allow guns anywhere on university. But Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, who championed that concept, conceded he could not get the necessary votes.

Instead, Gould said he settled for what he could get.

Farnsworth said the legislation makes sense, especially given the urban nature of university campuses. He said there are public streets that run through and adjacent to campuses. And anyone who now drives on those streets with a weapon in the car is technically violating the law.

But Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, said it’s not as simple as that. He said the legislation would undermine the ability of campus police to head off a problem before it occurs.

“If they see a certain person walking down the road with a high-powered rifle that is going into a place full of mass-capacity people, I am sure they would at least have the right to go and ascertain what that person is doing there ... instead of waiting until they finally break the law when they cross over into an office building,’’ he said.

Farnsworth, however, said he isn’t sure how the change will make campuses any less safe. He said anyone who is bent on killing someone now is not going to be deterred by existing laws and misdemeanor penalties that now make guns on campuses illegal.

“We have seen around the country that, in fact, having a prohibition on carrying (guns) in rights of way hasn’t stopped that kind of carnage, period,’’ he said.

But several other Republican legislators who said they support the right to bear arms said this measure goes too far.

Rep. Heather Carter, R-Cave Creek, who moved to Arizona from Maryland 18 years ago, said she takes a certain pride in this state having the most liberal gun laws in this country.

“But I believe this bill seriously crosses that line,’’ said Carter, who is an associate professor at Arizona State University. “Somehow, some way, the idea of guns on campus is just so morally objectionable to me that I can absolutely not vote yes on this bill.’’

Rep. Bob Robson, R-Chandler, told colleagues how he plans to send his son to college.

“To put guns on educational institutions makes absolutely no sense to me,’’ he said. “It’s going to be the first time, when something happens, how horrified we’re going to be in the choice and decision that we’ve possibly made.’’

But Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said he doesn’t see the distinction between campuses and the rest of the world.

“I find it hard to be that on universities it just becomes a bubble, and that you’re drastically protected when you’re on campus,’’ he said. “I think we have a right to defend ourselves.’’

That still leaves the question of where weapons will and will not be allowed.

Gallego said the legislation could be interpreted to allow guns not only on the streets and adjacent sidewalks that go through the campuses but even on the sidewalks between buildings. And Rep. Tom Chabin, D-Flagstaff, called the legislation “a bit ambiguous,’’ saying it needs “greater clarity.’’

That provoked an annoyed response from Farnsworth.

“If you think it’s not clear, then this is the place you should have offered an amendment that we could have then considered so we could have clarified the language,’’ he told Chabin. “I, sir, don’t have a problem with the language.’’

On a related note a little while ago Arizona also made it legal for almost anyone to carry concealed weapons in Arizona with out having to get a stinking concealed carry permit according to this article and this article.



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