ARIZONA – A bill being pushed out by Arizona Senate Republicans will allow for the carrying of firearms on college campuses and universities.
Senate Bill 1123 was sponsored by Senator Wendy Rogers based on the fact that guns are already on college campuses, but they’re only being carried and used by criminals. Such is the case with gun restrictions: only law abiding citizens follow the rules, while criminals continue to carry when and where they choose.
“I am a believer that guns save lives,” Rogers said, “and if a student has a concealed weapons permit then he or she should be able to carry on campus and thus make the campus safer.”
Conversely, Democratic Senator Martin Quezada said, “Policies that force colleges to allow guns on campuses are likely to lead to more shootings, to more homicides, to more suicides and to more dangerous situations, not less. We keep promoting this false narrative that guns are the answer to all our problems. And no, its not.”
Quezada did not provide data to back up his guess that guns would “likely” lead to more shootings.
Michael Thompson, the chief of police of Arizona State University, also testified that he believes the bill would not prove to prevent shootings. “I’m here to tell you from first-hand experience,” he said, “that university students make very poor decisions on a daily basis, sometimes hourly basis. Adding guns to an already high-risk environment of alcohol, drugs, overreaction, lack of life experience and immaturity is a very dangerous combination.”
Rogers, however, asked, “How do you know how many weapons are on campus?”
To this, Thompson acquiesced that she had a “very good point,” as he had no way to know this information, indicating that there are already guns on campus, with criminals by nature not following posted rules and laws regarding carrying firearms.
Rogers pressed on, asking if a “potential perpetrator” were to come onto a college campus knowing that it’s legal for the other students to carry their firearms. “[The perpetrator] would be less apt to inflict harm if [he] knew that other students might be carrying to protect themselves,” Rogers said. “Is that not true?”
“That would be an assumption that I couldn’t make,” Thompson responded.
Senator Warren Petersen spoke up at that point, naming shootings that have taken place at college campuses, indicating that there are, in fact, already guns present on campus.
“They are being carried by those who do not care about the law,” Petersen said. “Firearms are being carried by those who are going to rape people, commit crimes, hurt people. Had those other students been able to defend themselves they probably wouldn’t have been shot.
“You’re thinking about the bad people carrying, the people committing the crimes. It takes a good person with a gun to stop a bad person with a gun.”