State Capitol News
2:32 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

AZ Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Guns in Public Buildings

State senators gave final approval this afternoon to legislation that could let anyone bring a gun into a public building. 

Current law says posting a sign makes it illegal to enter with a gun. This legislation adds the requirement of having armed guards and metal detectors. Proponents said the signs are obeyed only by law-abiding citizens, leaving them prey to those who ignore the signs. Sen. Al Melvin said society can be broken down into three groups: The unarmed sheep, armed sheep dogs -- and the wolves who are the bad guys.

"It takes sheep dogs to protect the sheep from the wolves," said Melvin.  "And the more of us that have concealed weapon permits and take advantage of it, and with this type of legislation, we have a safer society."

And Sen. Steve Smith brushed aside complaints from government agencies about the cost to install the equipment and staff the entrances.

"As far as I'm concerned, there is no cost too high to protect my constitutional rights," he added.

But Sen. Steve Gallardo chided colleagues for saying this is about Constitutional rights.

"This has nothing to do with the Second Amendment," said Gallardo. "The fact is that this type of legislation would open up the doors for having our public facilities in a dangerous area. We're now allowing firearms in public facilities that should not have them, public swimming pools, public libraries."

The bill now goes to the governor.