Legislators passed a bill this week to allow firearms on campus, though they had to tweak it slightly to ensure its passage. Now the legislation goes to Governor Brewer’s desk where she can sign it, veto it, or do nothing and simply allow it to become law.
According to the Arizona Republic, the bill would’ve initially allowed guns everywhere on campus, including even classrooms. But lawmakers changed this to ensure they had enough support to get the bill passed.
As it stands, the law will allow people to carry concealed and open carry weapons on roads and sidewalks of public campuses. Current laws allow Universities to determine for themselves if they will allow such carrying—none do.
During debate of the pending legislation, all three of Arizona’s public Universities have passed resolutions opposing it. Even campus police got involved, testifying against the law.
Though you might be tempted to think the bill passed on party lines, five Republicans voted against it, one who said she has always been proud of Arizona’s lenient gun laws calls the newly passed bill one that “crosses the line”.
Opponents of the measure are concerned about potential safety risks and tragedies. They point to the emotional highs and lows often experienced by the college population and question whether handing weapons to this population is wise.
But, the guns must be carried by registered gun owners who have usually undergone background checks. However, such safety measures haven’t always thwarted disaster.
Though that quoted lawmaker is correct that Arizona gun laws are often seen as more lenient than other states in the country, violating the ones that exist is a surefire way of testing them. The most common of these gun crimes is known as Misconduct Involving a Weapon.
Misconduct Involving a Weapon can be charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor if you are found carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. That charge can be elevated to a felony if the weapon in your possession is defaced in some manner.
Though students may one day soon be allowed to carry weapons on campus, this new law won’t free them from the constraints of those already on the books.
If you’re found in violation of a gun law, you need the assistance of someone experienced in the local courts. Contact my offices today to discuss the details of your case and to see if we might be able to help you.