Tempe USG opposes controversial House bill that would allow concealed carry weapons on campus

With a vote of 15 yays, two nays and three abstentions, the Tempe Undergraduate Student Government passed a bill Tuesday that opposed the controversial Arizona gun House Bill 2072. 

H.B. 2072, sponsored by Rep. Sonny Borrelli (R-Bullhead City) would allow students and faculty to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. The Arizona Board of Regents already voted to oppose the bill in January. 

The Tempe USG resolution was based on outreach to student organizations and input from individual parties, as well as a survey conducted of 659 ASU students that found roughly 69 percent of those students oppose HB 2072.

Senator of the University Affairs committee Felix Herbst was a sponsor of the resolution. He repeatedly emphasized that the resolution should be voted on according to the opinions of the constituency, not based on the personal opinions of anyone in Tempe USG. 

"This, to the best of our ability, summarizes what we know the student body thinks," he said. 

Sen. Chase of USG Tempe voices opposition to HB 2072.

A video posted by Arren Kimbel-Sannit (@akimbelsannit) on

The conversation about the bill and the role of guns on campus in general will be an ongoing one, Herbst said. 

He said he would consider keeping the survey open to continually reflect student opinions as more responses come in. 

Several speakers were present at the meeting to voice their opinions on the Tempe USG resolution, and by extension H.B. 2072. 

Ashleigh Bowers, the executive director of the Residence Hall Association on the Tempe campus, informed the Senate of the association's opposition to the House bill. 

"Some concerns that were raised were student intoxication rates, suicide among college students and mental stability among students," she said. "Overall, residents were most concerned with gun owners being untrained, increased access for students to firearms and the general safety of ASU students, faculty and staff." 

Students for Self Defense director of outreach Jacob Pritchett presented the only opposition to State Bill 50 at the meeting. 

He said self defense is a human right, and that his organization not only supports carrying concealed weapons on campus, but loosening the University's policy against various means of self-defense also. 

He refuted ABOR's claim to jurisdiction over college campuses.

"The contention that (the House bill) violates ABOR's jurisdiction is silly, because the point (of the bill) is to change their jurisdiction," he said. 

While several senators made plans with him to allow further elaboration on the issue, Pritchett's claims were not enough to prevent S.B. 50 from passing, mainly due to the Senate's claim that its duty was to represent the majority of students, not any one personal opinion. 

Prior to discussion of S.B. 50, the Senate heard budget proposals from several clubs and organizations on campus. The most contentious discussion came in regards to Sun Devil Billiards, representatives from which pleaded for a budget approval despite missing the submission deadline. 

The Senate also confirmed Nicholas Gunther as civic engagement director. It also passed bills to support state investment in higher education and to support an Arizona Senate bill to allow student IDs to function as polling location IDs.

Editor's Note: Clarification has been added.

Reach the reporter at Arren.Kimbel-Sannit@asu.edu or follow @akimbelsannit on Twitter.

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