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Arizona Senate could allow students to bring guns on college campuses

Senate Republicans revisit legislation which is sparking opposition - News 11's Cody Lee reports

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - The Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee is proposing a new law that would require public colleges and universities to allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun.

Republicans on the Senate committee approved the legislation while Democrats fully opposed it.

“I am a believer that guns save lives and if a college student has a concealed carry weapons permit then he or she should be able to carry on campus,” said one Sen. Wendy Rogers, the Republican senator who authored the bill.

At Yuma's largest community college campus guns are not allowed.

Arizona Western College says these types of decisions should be made by locally elected boards that govern the colleges, not state lawmakers.

“If this bill were to pass, it would require community colleges regardless of those locally elected officials and their positions, it would require them to permit this.” That’s Lori Stofft, an AWC vice president responding to Senate Bill 1123, which would let students carry a gun on college campuses, with the appropriate permit.

But she says the state legislature should leave it up to locally elected boards.

“In our case, it's a five-member, elected district governing boards those five people are the boss of our president," she explained.

AWC is falling in line with other colleges in Arizona, “the position for community colleges across the state on this bill, is that those types of decisions really should rest with the elected local authority,” Stofft said.

Stofft says safety will always remain a top priority for the college and that it's the main reason why students choose to study at AWC.

The college is one of the only campuses in the state with a sworn law enforcement presence.

“I don't want folks to wonder about the future of security. That is something that we're really dedicated to, for all of our campus locations. We have campus locations all over the district.”

AWC is continuing to work with lawmakers. 

“This is one of many bills that are being considered right now. And we work really hard to stay in touch with our elected officials so that they kind of know what would really help your local county college district," Stofft added.

Back in 2011, then-governor Jan Brewer vetoed a similar bill due to the language being unclear.

Most recently in 2016, following a deadly shooting at Northern Arizona University (NAU), lawmakers pushed the same legislation.

The current bill will now head to the full Senate for a vote. House members will still need to vote on it.
 
If passed, it will go straight to Governor Ducey's desk.

The current bill will now head to the full Senate for a vote. House members will still need to vote on the bill. If passed, it will go straight to Gov. Ducey's desk.

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Cody Lee

Cody Lee joined 13 On Your Side and KYMA News 11 in March 2020, but he’s no stranger to Arizona. He grew up in the Phoenix area and enjoys everything Arizona has to offer.

You can contact Cody at cody.lee@kecytv.com.

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