The notion that students should be allowed to carry guns on a college campus is a bad idea. No, it is a really bad idea.
It is incredible that the Senate Judiciary Committee by a 5-3 vote approved Senate Bill 1474. Soon the Arizona Legislature will vote on this bill, which if approved would allow anyone 21 and older with a concealed-carry permit to carry a gun on the campuses of public universities and community colleges.
Admittedly, gun holders may not be allowed to twirl a gun in front of classmates in the classroom or library. The bill still allows universities and colleges to keep guns out of buildings, stadiums and classrooms if they provide secure gun-storage lockers. That is a big “if.”
Estimates were flying this past week that it will cost millions of dollars to construct gun-storage lockers at our schools. And it will cost maybe a couple of million dollars to hire staff to check the guns outside of buildings.
Why in the world do students needs guns to go to school? They don’t. Students are at a university to learn. The yahoos we let loose on campus with guns are a far bigger threat to the student body than the isolated nut case that goes over the deep end. And there is no guarantee that these “licensed” gunmen (and, we suppose, gunwomen) that might defend themselves or others can hit what they are aiming at.
There is only one argument for this. It all boils down to this prose attributed to Sen. Rick Murphy, R-Peoria, by the Arizona Republic: “You either have a constitutional right or you don’t,” he said. “I prefer to be able to defend myself, and I think students have that same right.”
Students are not lining up at Senate hearings demanding this right. Most are lining up to protest it. The Board of Regents and the Arizona Chiefs of Police oppose this legislation. And so should you.
Arizona currently is one of 25 states that allow each university or college to determine whether guns can be brought on campus. Every public university and college currently says no to guns.
There are almost an equal number of states that flat out say it is illegal to bring a gun onto a college campus. And then you have Oregon, Utah, Wisconsin and Mississippi who allow it.
Let’s not let Arizona be the fifth state to make this mistake. This is a bad idea. The self-defense argument is weak. There is no guarantee that someone “defending” themselves can shoot straight. The likelihood is all too high it will end badly for some innocent student.
Voters can shoot this idea down by emailing and calling legislators. It is time to send them a message to quit wasting time on such nonsensical measures and get back to working on funding a better education system and measures to attract industry and jobs to Arizona.