Proposed bill OKs guns in schools
Proposal would allow permit holders to carry
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 26, 2008 12:00 AM
Individuals with a concealed-weapons permit would be allowed to bring their guns onto school grounds under a measure introduced Friday at the Arizona Legislature.
The proposal, Senate Bill 1214, would exempt concealed-carry permit holders from a state law that bars individuals from knowingly carrying deadly weapons onto school property. If it becomes law, the measure would allow teachers and anyone else with a valid permit to carry their weapon onto the grounds of any public or private K-12 school, college or university in the state.
Supporters say the measure would provide an additional ring of security on campuses hit with a string of shootings in recent years. The most recent of which was last year's at Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead. The shootings have come in spite of heightened campus security and policies that are increasingly aimed at scrubbing any and all weapons from school grounds.
"Apparently, it hasn't really protected us . . . " noted Senate Majority Leader Thayer Verschoor, a Gilbert Republican and co-sponsor of the proposal. The primary sponsor is Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa.
Verschoor noted that concealed-carry permit holders must pass a criminal background check and take a gun-safety course, among other requirements.
But Rep. David Lujan, a Phoenix Democrat and president of the Phoenix Union High School District board, said he is "uncomfortable with having weapons on school campuses."
In the context of a school shooting, for example, he said the prospect of additional weapons in the hands of faculty or even students could "exacerbate the situation" when police arrive on scene and are trying to quickly identify the assailant.
"I think this is a discussion we need to have," Verschoor said.