Calling the legislation "poorly written,'' Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday vetoed legislation that would have allowed individuals to carry their weapons in the public rights of way going through university and community college campuses.
The governor said she generally supports expansion of where people can carry their weapons. But she said this measure was badly flawed.
Separately, the governor rejected legislation which would have required the secretary of state to refuse to put a presidential candidate's name on the Arizona ballot unless he or she provided certain documentation designed to prove the person met the federal constitutional requirement to be a "natural-born citizen.'' Brewer, who was secretary of state before becoming governor two years ago, said the person in that office should not have that much authority, saying it "could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions.''
She also suggested there was an "ick'' factor in the measure.
Brewer pointed out that candidates who could not produce a "long form birth certificate'' would have the option of instead furnishing other documents related to early medical treatment.
"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most power nation on Earth to submit their ‘early baptismal or circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona secretary of state,'' Brewer wrote.
And Brewer vetoed a third measure which would have required her to enter into compacts with other states as an alternative to complying with the federal health care law.
It was the veto of the gun measure, though, which came as the biggest surprise.
The original version of the bill would have allowed anyone with a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to bring a gun into all university and community college buildings.
Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, agreed to scale it back to apply only to public rights of way, keeping the buildings themselves as gun-free zones. But he said if that's the case, then a concealed weapon permit should not be required.
Brewer has boasted of her A-Plus rating from the National Rifle Association. She even was a featured speaker when the NRA had its conference in Phoenix two years ago.
And the governor has signed every piece of legislation expanding who can carry guns and where, including a measure last year to permit anyone to have a concealed weapon, with or without a background check and special training.
The governor said this proposal, however, was just too much to accept.
Brewer said the problems started with the lack of definition of where guns would - and would not - be allowed on campus.
She pointed out that nowhere in the legislation does it define exactly was is a "public right of way'' where weapons could be carried, either openly or concealed. In fact, Brewer pointed out that several legislators cited that lack of definition while the bill was being debated.
But supporters, the governor said, apparently were undeterred.
"One proponent of the bill stated that a court will have to be the final arbiter,'' Brewer wrote in her veto message. "We don't need the courts to write our gun laws. That is the job of the Legislature.''
Brewer also said while the measure was promoted as applying only to universities and community colleges, it also prohibited public school governing board from making their own rules. The governor said while federal prohibitions against guns on public school campuses still apply, this measure "confuses the issue.''
The governor hinted, though, that she might be willing to sign a cleaned-up version of the bill - but only if carrying a gun is limited to those who have the training and background check required for a state-issued concealed weapons permit.
Gould called her veto "very rude.'' And he said the measure, approved twice by the Senate and once by the House, was apparently clear enough for legislators to understand.
He said Brewer, who did not discuss her action with him, was "deferring to education bureaucrats'' who urged the governor to veto the bill.
"It means college and university students are still at risk because they have no way to defend themselves on a college and university campus,'' Gould said.
Monday's veto comes as the governor has a more far-reaching measure on her desk, also sponsored by Gould.
It would allow people to bring their guns into all public buildings - not including universities, community colleges and public schools - unless the building operators provide metal detectors and security guards at each entrance and a locker for gun owners to store their weapons.
Existing laws allow government buildings to be declared gun-free zones simply by posting a sign at the door. Gould said only law-abiding citizens pay attention to those signs, meaning they are the ones that are disarmed when a criminal starts shooting.
"It's kind of looking bad,'' Gould said of the chances Brewer will sign that bill.
The "birther bill'' would have made Arizona the only state in the nation to let a state official determine if a presidential candidate is qualified to run.
Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, who crafted the original version, said no federal official or agency is charged with determining if candidates are legally qualified. Burges said the fact that political foes can file suit to challenge the person's candidacy is not sufficient.
This year, Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, picked up the issue. He said states have both a legal obligation and "inherent authority'' to keep those who do not meet the legal qualifications to serve in an office off the ballot.
Seel also argued he was not singling out presidential candidates for special treatment. He noted that another provision of his legislation required candidates for all offices to submit written proof of their qualifications at the time they file nominating papers.
But the specific requirements for a birth certificate - or some other records to show birth in the United States - existed solely for presidential contenders.
And it was only in the case of presidential candidates that the measure allowed the secretary of state, even after getting the documents, to keep a candidate off the ballot if he or she believes the "preponderance of the evidence shows that the candidate does not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements.''
"This measure creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona,'' the governor wrote.''