Arizona passes law allowing guns on campuses

The Arizona House on Thursday approved a landmark bill allowing guns on campuses, making it only the second state in the nation to allow firearms to be carried at colleges and universities.

The Republican-led House voted 33 to 24 to allow firearms to be carried in the open or concealed in public rights of way, such as campus streets and roadways.

“We’re allowing people to defend themselves,” said Rep. David Gowan Sr., a Republican, who voted for the bill.

“The purpose of carrying a gun with you is to defend yourself against that aggressor,” he added.

The measure now goes to Arizona’s Republican Governor Jan Brewer. She has not said if she will sign it into law but has been a strong gun-rights advocate in the past.

If the measure is enacted, Arizona would join Utah as the only states to specifically allow such gun rights. Utah goes one step further, allowing firearms inside campus buildings.

The move comes as opponents and supporters face off across the country over gun laws, with nine states this year seeking to broaden citizens’ rights to tote firearms on campuses.

Supporters of Arizona’s bill argue that a person’s constitutional right to bear arms should not be taken away just because he or she is on a campus. They claim that allowing guns there could save lives in the event of a campus shooting.

But the bill faced widespread opposition from college and university administrators, faculty and law enforcement officials.

Opponents claimed it would put campus police at a dangerous disadvantage in trying to prevent campus shootings.

Faculty groups at the state’s three universities passed resolutions against the bill.

Rep. Steve Farley, a Democrat, said the idea strikes at the heart of higher education and will make it hard to attract top-flight faculty and staff.

“I don’t believe this is a good move for us,” he told legislators during the vote. “I think it compromises the key core goal of our universities … (to) have a free and unintimidating exchange of ideas.”

Other lawmakers questioned the bill because it does not specifically define what constitutes public rights of way. They said a legal challenge is likely.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

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2 Responses to "Arizona passes law allowing guns on campuses"

  1. Mike Ebel  April 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Hopefully it won’t get vetoed and is put in place. Also when it does pass and five years from now when none of the wild west problems come up and nothing changes safety wise on campus I would like to see an apology from all the nay sayers against this bill just like what happen when Florida passed the first conceal carry law and law enforcement made the same dire predictions that did not come true either. At least the main Florida Sheriff against the law was man enough to admit he was wrong.

  2. Keith  April 10, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    As I’ve noted elsewhere, I firmly believe that our US “wild west” culture…a culture that since our country’s founding, has officially enabled (if not encouraged) personal violence by allowing ordinary citizens to have easy access to lethal weapons and other firearms…has a lot to do with the fact that ours is now among the most violent cultures on the face of the planet.

    Unfortunately, and as the debate in these threads has suggested, that “wild west” culture is now horrifically embedded in our psyche in the United States of America and is clearly not about to go away anytime soon.

    And while I will readily agree that “guns don’t cause crime” I also find it extremely hard to discount the equally compelling argument that their easy availability to ordinary citizens in the United States of America is certainly a major contributor to that country’s relatively high crime rate (particularly its homicide rate) as compared to other nations.

    For, just as such things as airline crashes and other such horrific disasters often entail a series of human decisions and the ability to carry them out, so, too, does the ready access to such widespread lethal weaponry in our US culture often lead to (and thereby enable) a “spur of the moment” decision to rob someone at gunpoint…or blow them away with all manner of sophisticated automatic weaponry that our Founding Fathers never imagined when they wrote the Second Amendment into our Constitution.

    That is, without ready access to a gun in the mix, I firmly believe those who would perpetrate of such horrific human agony might very well think twice about committing such a horrific crimes.

    I also firmly believe that it’s the embedded CULTURE of a country…the series of human norms and values that make up a nation and to which the vast majority of its people hold near and dear…that are the driving forces as to whether (or not) that country survives and thrives over the long haul, or fades away.

    And, sadly, by any measure, the “wild west”, “gun toting”, “police stare” mentality that seems to now pervade life in the United States of America is simply one more indicator that the American society has irretrievably broken down.

    Indeed, our once strong institutions like the family now lie in ruins. But, when these indicators are also combined with our crumbling social and physical infrastructure, an increasingly debt-ridden (and horrifically corrupt) private and public financial system, an education system that freely awards high school diplomas and college degrees to functionally illiterate people, along with the widespread loss of personal and religious freedoms and values, such a nation cannot long endure.

    But when all of these indicators are ALSO combined with the increasing corruption of our nation’s entire form of government, such indicators…taken as a whole…serve as yet MORE irrefutable proof at the entire societal fabric that has traditionally underwritten our once proud United States of America are now well on their way to the dustbin of history.

    Indeed, such an increasingly sick society cannot (and therefore, sadly, will not) last for very much longer. And while I once proudly served for over two decades in the armed forces of the United States of America, and while I will always cherish my US Citizenship, I’m now very sad to also admit that I’m relieved I don’t live there anymore.

    Never, in a million years, did I EVER think I would harbor such strong, negative feelings about living my native land!

    But, I’ll also bet that I’m not alone in harboring those same strong negative feelings, particularly among the many millions of OTHER peace-loving US citizens who now find it necessary to install all manner of bars on their windows, padlocks on their doors and increasingly sophisticated alarm systems in their homes, all the while feeling an overwhelming need to carry concealed weapons with them at all times so as to offer themselves an increasingly impotent form of “protection” and “security”.

    Indeed, my hunch is that those same strong feelings of regret are now strongest among those poor souls who are still forced to live (based on job and/or family considerations) in our major metropolitan areas where gun-toting mobs and drug lords have now increasingly turned those once peaceful parts of our nation into de-facto war zones.

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