If the bill to allow weapons on university campuses passes, it will total $13.3 million in one-time costs and $3.1 million annually for Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona, according to the Arizona Board of Regents’ fiscal impact study.
“The board is adamantly opposed to any legislation that would allow guns on campus and compromise the safety of all who pass through the doors of our higher education institutions or visit our campuses on any given day,” said Regent LuAnn Leonard, Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) vice chair, in a press release. “Furthermore, this legislation will saddle the universities with additional costs that will cut into educational priorities.”
Senate Bill 1474, a modification to current law, would stop universities from banning firearms on campus. It would require them to allow guns in public accessible buildings unless signs are posted at every entrance stating guns are banned and additional security personnel and gun lockers are provided.
ASU has 254 public accessible buildings across four campuses, the study states.
The costs specific to ASU estimate that the university would need $4.7 million the first year, with an additional $1.9 million in operating costs. Additionally, the training for the security personnel would necessitate another $341,000 the first year.
The estimates assume that the lockers do not have to be individually staffed, and if that’s the case, the report said, the costs would be substantially higher.
The bill comes in direct opposition of the Arizona Board of Regents, all three university presidents — including ASU President Michael Crow — all three university police chiefs, the four student governments from each ASU campus and the ASU graduate and professional student government.
“There is no evidence to support claims that allowing guns on campus will result in a safer environment,” Regent Bob McLendon, ABOR chair, said in the release. “The board of regents continues to heed the advice of the university police chiefs — the experienced, trusted law enforcement professionals responsible for the safety and well-being of campus visitors — who strongly advise against SB 1474 given the high-risk factor of harmful or deadly situations occurring with more guns on campus.”
To keep guns out of university buildings, gun lockers and additional signage would have be installed on all of the three universities’ 732 public accessible buildings, the report states.
Estimates point costs to a $13,000 per-building average to install the lockers to the exterior of the walls, the report said.
NAU would require $2.3 million and $519,000 in startup and annual costs, respectively. UA would require $6.69 million the first year and $692,988 in annual personnel costs.
It is unclear where the funds to cover the cost of installing gun lockers and the associated costs will come from.
“It’s basically an unfunded mandate,” ASU Police Chief John Pickens said following an ABOR meeting earlier this month.
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