Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs shot down two proposals aimed at improving student safety and protecting the rights of law-abiding residents on Tuesday, breaking out her veto pen and calling on the Republican-controlled legislature to start passing gun control bills instead. HB 2332 would have set up a firearms safety education program for students in grades 6-12, while SB 1331 would have allowed Arizonans with concealed carry licenses to lawfully bring their firearms on campus.
In her veto letter, Hobbs claimed that “Mandatory firearm safety training in school is not the solution to gun violence prevention,” adding that the proposed course could “lead to immediate and long-term impacts on the health and well-being of students, teachers, and parents.” I’m not sure what the heck the Democratic governor is talking about, given the scope of the proposed instruction.
“Given the increasing concern over the safety of schools, the legislature intends that children in this state receive instruction about firearms from qualified individuals with a focus on safety rather than from popular culture and various forms of media,” the House bill’s legislative intent stated. “This instruction should not cover topics such as firearms operation, qualification or hunting but should ensure that students know how to identify the safe and unsafe handling of firearms and the appropriate response as taught by firearms safety experts in this state who are willing to volunteer their time.”
The legislation specifically noted that the mandatory course wasn’t supposed to teach students how to safely or responsibly use a firearm, but rather to “teach simple, easy-to-remember steps so individuals who receive the training know what to do if they ever come across a firearm.” Even that was too much for Arizona’s anti-gun governor, who I guess would prefer kids be left in the dark and ignorant if they happen upon a gun.
The governor’s veto of SB 1331 is just as shameful. Right now, those with concealed carry licenses are still forbidden from bringing their firearms on campus, even if they’re just sitting in the line of cars waiting to pick up their kids from school. That forces many concealed carry holders to either not carry at all, or to pull their car over and needlessly expose their firearm to the public at large while they place it in the trunk of their vehicle to store it while they pick up or drop off their children.
In her veto message, Hobbs said it wouldn’t be “prudent” to let those parents briefly carry on campus, arguing that “firearms on campus have the potential to confuse law enforcement as they arrive at an active shooter situation.”
Honestly, the odds that an armed parent would be in a position to stop an active shooting incident on campus is pretty low, but that doesn’t make the governor’s rationale any better. What Hobbs is really saying is that, if God forbid a determined killer ever comes on campus, it’s better to have a one-sided slaughter than the chance to fight back, at least until law enforcement shows up. I find that mindset absolutely despicable, but the governor has made at least made it perfectly clear to Arizona voters that her anti-gun agenda trumps the safety of students… and the Second Amendment rights of their parents.