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Students with permits are one step closer to being allowed to bring concealed guns on campus after the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1474 on Monday.

SB 1474 would prohibit universities or college officials from enforcing campus gun rules if the person bringing the concealed weapon on campus is at least 21 years old and has a permit.

The bill, sponsored by Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, gives universities or community college officials the ability to restrict or prohibit concealed guns in buildings and allows these institutions to create secure storage facilities.

Gould said the bill would make faculty and students feel protected.

“You have a natural right to defend yourself, and that natural right is recognized by the U.S. and Arizona constitutions,” Gould said.

If the bill passes, he would encourage faculty members and students to carry weapons on campus to protect themselves, Gould said.

In 2011, Brewer vetoed House Bill 2001, a similar campus gun bill sponsored by Sen. Jack W. Harper, R-Surprise. HB 2001 did not require a permit to carry concealed, as SB 1474 does.

Gould said the sponsors rewrote the bill to accommodate Brewer’s concerns on the bill’s clarity.

ASU President Michael Crow released a statement Jan. 31 opposing the bill.

“To permit guns on campus is a misguided attempt to increase school safety without a shred of evidence to support the assumption that schools are safer if students are armed,” Crow said.

Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Vice Chair Bob McLendon opposes the bill.

“What if everyone you see on campus … has a potential gun in their backpack?” said McLendon. “What kind of atmosphere is that going to be on campus?”

McLendon said he feels a responsibility for the safety for everyone on university campuses.

“People have the right to bear arms, but students should not have that right on a college campus because they do not have the proper training to handle a gun like a police officer does,” McLendon said.

Former Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, an ASU alumna and congressional candidate, said she opposed the 2011 bill and opposes the bill this year.

“I don’t even want to think about students or faculty carrying weapons,” she said.

Officers would not be able to differentiate between an actual shooter and someone trying to protect themselves with their own gun, Sinema said.

“It decreases security, and police can’t tell between good guys and bad guys,” Sinema said.

McLendon said ABOR would discuss the bill during the Feb. 16 and 17 meetings on the Tempe campus.

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Correction:  An earlier version of the story misstated former state Sen. Kyrsten Sinema's legislative district.

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