Guns on campus bill dies, but push for concealed carry at ASU continues

Arizona House Bill 2072, which would allow students and faculty members to carry concealed weapons on campus, isn’t going anywhere. For now, at least.

The Phoenix Chief Clerk’s Office said the bill was “dead” after failing to be heard in committee before the Feb. 19 deadline.

But that doesn’t mean the debate is over.

ASU’s Students for Self-Defense group is maintaining their push for concealed carry on ASU’s campuses.

“In the Arizona Constitution and the federal Constitution, there’s no caveat that exempts educational institutions,” said the club's Director of Outreach Jacob Pritchett. “We want students to have rights on campus like they do in any other place.”

Pritchett said the group sent out emails encouraging students to contact their local representative to support the now-defunct measure. The group created a petition to promote self-defense measures at ASU and received nearly 1,700 signatures.

However, not everyone agrees with the ongoing push for concealed carry.

Social work freshman Kerstyn Godsey said she doesn’t agree with concealed carry on campus because she is concerned for the safety of those carrying weapons in the event of an on-campus shooting.

“If multiple people fit the description as an active shooter, they can be harmed even if they’re just a bystander,” Godsey said.

Godsey said she is not anti-gun and would consider carrying a concealed weapon while off-campus, but doesn’t think it would be necessary on campus.

“If you’re off-campus, especially in the downtown area, there’s a lot of weird things that happen,” Godsey said.

Each branch of ASU’s Undergraduate Student Government held votes to either oppose or accept H.B. 2072.

First-year Cronkite Senator Rilee Robinson said USG Downtown conducted a survey of more than 350 students to determine what they thought of the bill.

It resulted in a 60 percent opposition and a 40 percent approval.

Robinson voted in favor of the bill because she “thought someone needed to represent” the 40 percent.

But even on a personal level, Robinson said she supports the idea of concealed carry while understanding the push-back.

“I do get why students are opposed, but they see it as people having guns on campus instead of trained people having guns on campus,” Robinson said.

ASU took a stance on the legislation in a statement released by ASU Police Department on Jan. 20, which read, “We haven’t thoroughly analyzed this bill. ... We feel strongly that allowing weapons on campus would increase the risk of gun-related injuries to both campus police and our students.”

The statement also said that allowing firearms would be “disruptive” and raise concern for the pre-schools, elementary schools and high schools based on or near ASU campuses.

While H.B. 2072 will not become law, the City Clerk’s Office said the contents of the bill could be rewritten into another bill for the next session.

SSD is hosting an open forum with ASU Assistant Police Chief Patrick Foster to discuss student safety and hear suggestions from students in March. 

Related Links:

ASU's gun policy: What's allowed, what's not and what's next?

Bill proposed in Arizona house would allow concealed weapons on college campuses

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