State Capitol News
10:56 pm
Mon February 25, 2008

Bill to allow guns in schools moves forward

Phoenix, AZ – The state moved a step closer Monday to letting students and
staff at state universities carry weapons. Arizona Public Radio's
Howard Fischer explains.

The 4-3 vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee comes on
legislation which says anyone who has a permit to carry a
concealed weapon doesn't need to leave it at home or in the car
when entering the campus of a state university or community
college. Sen. Karen Johnson said the measure is designed to let
those who belong on campus protect themselves. But Johnson said
high profile shootings like at Northern Illinois University
aren't the only reason for the bill. She cited testimony last
week from some community college and university students in
Arizona who already have such permits.

(They're 21, been through their background check and been through
their training. And they felt very strongly that they needed to
be allowed to protect themselves, especially in the evenings as
they move from class to class.)

But Johnson did not get everything she wanted. Colleagues were
unwilling to extend that right to carry onto the campuses of
public schools. Still, she believes the measure has merit.

(This is something. It's not the bill that I wanted because I
still feel like our little kindergartners are sitting there as
sitting ducks.)

Johnson still has to get the bill through the full Senate, the
House -- and eventually, convince Gov. Janet Napolitano to sign
it.

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.