Arizona has some of the best gun laws in the country, but there’s one glaring exception to the pro-2A statutes already in place. No permit or license is required to keep or bear arms in the state, there are no “red flag” laws or gun bans on the books, and no one hoping to exercise their Second Amendment rights are subjected to onerous waiting periods or subjective licensing laws to own a firearm.
If you’re a college student or faculty member who’d like to carry on campus, however, you’re out of luck. A decade ago, then-Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a campus carry bill that made it to her desk, but since then the measure has stalled out in the state legislature despite repeated attempts to revive it.
This year Sen. Wendy Rogers has offered her own bill, and on Monday the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony in support and opposition to SB 1123.
“I would be less apt to inflict harm if I knew that other students might be carrying to protect themselves,” Rogers said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Victims of gun violence see it differently.
On Monday, they called on the legislature to say “no” to the Rogers bill and several other gun bills lawmakers will consider this session.
“Teens are impulsive, and when they have access to guns it’s a deadly combination,” said Jenny Wieland of Mothers Against Gun Violence.
But the passions of victims may not be enough to convince a Republican majority in the legislature, which sees more people legally carrying guns as a way to protect us all.
“It takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen said.
ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson thinks it’s just a bad idea to have students walking around campus armed.
“I’m here to tell you from firsthand experience, university students make very poor decisions on a daily basis, on an hourly basis,” Thompson said.
If they’re that idiotic, maybe we shouldn’t just ban guns from college campuses. How about getting rid of sharp pointy pencils and forcing the students and staff to make do with crayons instead?
Despite the complaints by gun control activists and campus police chiefs like Michael Thompson, there’ve been no issues with campus carry in the nearly one dozen states that already have similar laws on the books, and no state has gone back and repealed its campus carry law once in place. Gun control activists have predicted mayhem and madness in states like Texas and Kansas during previous debates over implementing campus carry, but despite all of their claims the reality is that those law-abiding gun owners are just as safe and responsible on campus as they are when they’re carrying off campus.
So far the objections from opponents haven’t derailed this year’s campus carry legislation. Rogers’ bill cleared the Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, and could be heard on the floor of the Senate in coming days. Given the untimely demise of similar measures in the past, though, gun owners and Second Amendment activists need to rally behind this bill if they want to see it land on Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk and hopefully signed into law.