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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Concealed weapons on campus ensure safety

Ever since Janet Napolitano left Arizona to declare the border secure from Washington, D.C., the state Legislature has made substantial changes to our firearm laws. In 2009, Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law a bill that allows those with a concealed-carry weapons permit to carry a firearm inside institutions that serve alcohol, provided that person does not drink. Last year, Arizona joined Alaska and Vermont in allowing non-felons over 21 years of age to legally carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a concealed weapons permit. This year, it appears that the firearm laws which govern the state’s colleges, including the UA, are — dare I say — in the crosshairs.

Republican Rep. Jack Harper has introduced two bills in the House to address these laws. Both of these bills were presented before the shooting on Jan. 8, though Harper said he remains “”undeterred.””

The first bill would allow professors and faculty with a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm on campus “”regardless of the failed anti-defense ideology of the Board of Regents.”” The other bill would allow all persons with permits, including students, to carry on campus. To obtain a concealed-carry weapons permit in the state of Arizona, one must be over 21 years of age, pass a background check, demonstrate one’s ability to use a firearm properly and accurately, and complete an eight-hour class learning the applicable laws of the state. Simply put, this new law would only allow trained, law-abiding students over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon.

The gun-control lobby opposes this proposed measure, of course. They make their predictable claims that rely on emotion rather than logic and facts.

For those who think mixing guns and a college atmosphere is a bad idea, remember only law-abiding permit holders will be allowed to carry. This means they will be 21 or older, sober and trained. Utah has long followed similar legislation that allows permit holders to carry on campuses, and there have been no major incidents.

Another common argument from the left is that once the police show up, they will not be able to identify the criminal if multiple people have guns. However, anyone who has ever been in a gun battle can tell you that they do not last very long. An extreme amount of carnage can happen in less than 30 seconds. If anyone knows where the police response time is anything close to 30 seconds, please feel free to share. Nonetheless, the police are not legally responsible for students’ safety. It only makes sense for trained, law-abiding students and faculty to be able to defend themselves and others.

In a telephone interview, Harper said: “”When law-abiding, responsible adults are able to defend themselves, crime is deterred. H.B. 2001 is a bill that was requested by university professors. With four hours of range time on gun safety, four hours of classroom time on gun laws of Arizona and an FBI background check, I feel that faculty members with a (concealed weapons permit) should no longer be sitting ducks on Arizona’s colleges and university campuses.””

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu also supports the proposed legislation. He said, “”Campus and local police, regardless of their training and tactical ability, are always functioning from a delayed response.”” He also said that criminals never follow any law and “”pose a greater threat to unarmed citizens specifically in areas where weapons are prohibited, such as college campuses.””

At first glance, allowing permit holders to carry while on campus may seem unnecessary, but it is a very logical step and would only make our university a safer place for all. If some crazed person is intent on murder, he or she will disregard the fact that the UA is a “”gun free zone.”” Where guns are outlawed, the only people with guns will be outlaws. If that person knows that students and faculty are armed, they will be discouraged from attempting to cause terror. As the saying goes: An armed society is a polite society.

— Trey Terry is the communications director of the UA College Republicans. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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