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Opinions: Concealed weapons on campus can't hurt

As we all probably know by now, Arizona Senate Bill 1214 wants to allow civilians to carry legally concealed firearms on any college or university in the state � so long as they have a permit. The naysayers of the bill are the Democrats in the Senate. And just for clarification, while I'm not (yet) a registered Democrat, I do hang out left of the line. But despite my apparent allegiances, I think those opposing the bill have it all wrong.

The biggest argument against the bill basically is: "Remember the VT and NIU tragedies? Pretty damn awful, right? So, to protect ourselves from such things, we shouldn't pass SB 1214 because we shouldn't allow college students to have firearms on campus under any circumstances." The first two sentences are dead-on. The VT and NIU tragedies were absolutely � well, I don't have a word that can describe the pain inflicted by those evils. But the last sentence just doesn't work when applied to this bill.

First off, to legally conceal a firearm in the state, you already have to receive a permit that must be carried on your person at all times when a concealed firearm is also carried. To receive the permit, one has to meet a few conditions. Per AZ revised statutes 13-3112, he or she must be a legal resident of the state or a U.S. citizen, must be at least 21 years of age, must be neither under indictment nor a convicted felon, must not suffer from any mental illness nor have been judged mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution, and must complete a state sanctioned firearm safety class. That's a pretty long list. If someone wants to legally conceal a weapon, I really think that the current conditions weed out those that might want to conceal a weapon for purposes other than self-defense.

Now when it comes to whether someone might use a concealed weapon in a dangerous way, that's neither here nor there. I mean, if someone really wants to use a weapon for something unlawful, they pretty much will. Allowing people to conceal and carry on campus would not allow them to use weapons in a dangerous way any more than what current laws do.

And, current laws totally prohibit the possession of firearms on school grounds by civilians. The passage of the bill would simply allow reasonable people the opportunity to defend themselves, if absolutely necessary.

In any case, the arguments surrounding the proposed bill are about more than whether concealed firearms should be allowed on school grounds. Some people just don't think firearms, concealed or not, should be allowed in public places � that is to say, only police officers should have firearms in a municipality. But SB 1214 isn't about whether firearms should be allowed everywhere or anywhere. It's already been established by the Legislature for some time that people can legally carry weapons on their person, in public places, if they so choose.

If you oppose the possession of firearms in public places, well, this is a liberal society, so go ahead; voice your reasons, try to change things. But in the mean time, there's such a thing as fairness in the law. And I, for one, really don't see a big difference between someone on Mill Avenue with a legally concealed firearm and the potential for someone on Palm Walk with a legally concealed firearm. I mean, if concealed firearms are already allowed, why can't we mature college students be granted the same liberties as everyone else?

Regardless of whether Brett can conceal weapons on campus, he

certainly cannot conceal his e-mail on campus:

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