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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Officials resist gun bill

    PHOENIX – Some university officials are apprehensive about state legislation that would allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to bring weapons on public school grounds, including the UA.

    UA President Robert Shelton and UA lobbyist Greg Fahey both said in e-mails that they are opposed to allowing firearms on campus.

    University of Arizona Police Department Chief Anthony Daykin did not return calls for comment yesterday, while the Dean of Students Office declined comment, deflecting questions to UAPD.

    A school with no guns is one of the most dangerous places someone can be, said Sen. Robert Blendu, R-Litchfield Park, one of the main supporters of SB1214.

    “”I don’t know how many people we have to kill before we decide to do something about it,”” he said.

    Brad Burns, a senior majoring in history and political science and an inactive member of the UA College Republicans, said the value of carrying a concealed weapon on campus would translate to increased self-defense, crime deterrence and a reduction in general crime.

    Burns said he supports the bill because it would allow people who passed necessary background checks and a safety-training course to carry on campus.

    “”The problem is there are criminals who prey on the unarmed populace,”” Burns said. “”Nothing prevents a mentally unstable mass murderer from smuggling a gun onto campus.””

    According to statistics from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, as of October 2007 there were 89,765 active concealed weapons permits in Arizona, with almost 18 percent, or 15,925, in Pima County.

    Any student who attends a public institution of learning, such as a university or grade school, has the right to believe they are walking into something safe, Blendu said.

    “”My position is, we’re going to make it safe, I don’t care if everybody has to be armed,”” he said.

    The State of Arizona is responsible for the safety of students attending the state’s campuses, Blendu said.

    “”Are we just going to wait until 20 kids get killed, or are we going to be proactive?”” he said.

    Kate Ismeurt, a sophomore majoring in English and sociology, said the rationale for the bill is to deter people who might otherwise take advantage of a weapons-free campus, but she still doesn’t support it.

    “”I like the idea of a weapons-free campus,”” she said. “”I understand everyone has the right to bear arms, but in terms of an educational setting, I don’t see the place for weapons.””

    – Tom Knauer contributed to this report.

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