Guns on campus bill awaits governor

After passing in both the state Senate and House, a bill making it legal to carry firearms on college campuses moved to the governor’s desk Tuesday morning.

Gov. Jan Brewer has five days to sign or veto the bill. If she does neither, Senate Bill 1467 will automatically become law.

The bill prohibits universities and community colleges from banning concealed weapons on campus. Guns would then be allowed on streets and sidewalks on campus, but would not be permitted inside buildings.

Matthew Benson, Brewer’s spokesman, said Tuesday the governor hadn’t yet decided to sign, veto or not sign the bill. But opponents of the bill are imploring her to veto it for the safety of students and faculty.

ASU President Michael Crow is among the opponents and wrote a letter to Brewer on Friday asking her to veto the bill because he said it goes against the educational mission of ASU and will put “thousands of children attending programs and events on ASU campuses in harm’s way.”

Crow also said having more weapons on campus would make it difficult for police to identify an adversary if a shooter was on campus.

“During all this, [police] must still ensure that they have the correct target before engaging with deadly force,” Crow said. “Additional people with weapons will delay law enforcement from reaching the active shooter and increase the potential of more, not fewer, victims.”

Supporters of the bill are hopeful that Gov. Brewer will sign the bill and not just let it become a law.

Michael Wimmer, a chemistry senior and the Arizona State Director of Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, said he and the organization support well-regulated guns on campus for defense purposes.

“We support firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens that fit the criteria to carry a firearm,” Wimmer said. “It is our right to defend ourselves with the use of firearms and [students] should not be deprived of that right once they step onto the grass of a college campus.”

Brewer has until Saturday to act on the bill or let it become law without her signature.

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