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Gun violence victims hope Arizona lawmakers shut down possibility of concealed weapons at colleges

Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 10:51:25-05

PHOENIX — Allowing students to carry guns on a college campus is not a new idea in Arizona.

Since 2008, bills allowing for it have been considered three times. In 2011, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that made it to her desk.

This year, there is another attempt at allowing students, faculty, and anyone on a university campus to carry a concealed weapon as long as they have a permit for it.

Senate Bill 1123's sponsor is Flagstaff Senator Wendy Rogers.

"I would be less apt to inflict harm if I knew that other students might be carrying to protect themselves," Rogers said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Victims of gun violence see it differently.

On Monday, they called on the legislature to say "no" to the Rogers bill and several other gun bills lawmakers will consider this session.

"Teens are impulsive, and when they have access to guns it's a deadly combination," said Jenny Wieland of Mothers Against Gun Violence.

But the passions of victims may not be enough to convince a Republican majority in the legislature, which sees more people legally carrying guns as a way to protect us all.

"It takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Warren Petersen said.

ASU Police Chief Michael Thompson thinks it's just a bad idea to have students walking around campus armed.

"I'm here to tell you from firsthand experience, university students make very poor decisions on a daily basis, on an hourly basis," Thompson said.

The idea to allow students to carry concealed weapons was first put forward in September by members of a Republican student organization on the ASU campus. On Monday, the reaction to the idea was mixed.

"I think it's safe for people to have guns. I don't think there is anything wrong with that," first-year student Jacob Budd said.

Sophomore Haley Cobb countered Budd's point, saying, "I don't think it should be allowed. I don't think everyone can be trusted."

Rogers' concealed weapons bill was passed out of committee on a party-line vote. The full Senate may consider it next week.