Saying that guns are not necessarily appropriate everywhere, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed legislation that would have forced government agencies to allow weapons in their buildings if they were unwilling to spend money on additional security.
“I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation over these past few years to advance gun rights,” Brewer wrote in her veto message. But she said that even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia recognized the legitimacy of laws “forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings.”
And Brewer said that, from her perspective, this bill opens the door too far.
“Decisions made by government officials at the state, county and municipal level impact all areas of life and can have a profound impact upon an individual’s family and livelihood,” she wrote. “Emotions can run high.”
The governor said if there are to be guns allowed in public buildings, those decisions should be “cooperatively reached” and not just mandated by the Legislature.
Existing law allows government agencies to declare buildings off limits to guns by posting signs at the door and providing lockers for people to store their weapons.
This measure would have added a new requirement: metal detectors or X-ray machines, coupled with armed security guards.
Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, said the signs are meaningless and unenforceable. He said the only way to ensure those in a building are not armed is with greater security.
The alternative, he said, is to allow anyone to carry a gun. That, said Gowan, ensures that those who want to protect themselves are suitably armed.
Brewer, in concluding guns should not be allowed everywhere, said the other choice was equally unacceptable, with public agencies forced to “spend untold dollars” to protect officials and employees.