Governor Vetos Gun Bill

Apr 18, 2012

Siding with local governments, Governor Jan Brewer vetoed legislation Tuesday that would have allowed guns into public buildings.

Existing law says all a government agency need do to keep guns out is post a sign and provide lockers for weapons. Charles Heller of the Arizona Citizens Defense League said that's meaningless. In fact, Heller said the signs actually can make the building more dangerous.

"Honest people," he said, "those of us who have a permit -- will see the signs and go, 'Oh, the gun's not allowed here, I'll go put in the car.' And the criminal will look at it and say, 'Hot diggity, disarmed victim zone, fresh meat.'"

This legislation would have added the requirements of metal detectors, X-ray machines and armed guards, things Heller said would assure that no one in the building is armed. And for communities unwilling to spend that much, there was another option: Let visitors keep their weapons. Brewer said that while she's a big supporter of Second Amendment rights, guns do not belong everywhere at all times. And press aide Matthew Benson said this is not a decision that should be mandated by the state.

"If local government decides that it wants to allow guns in City Hall or at the library or swimming pools or any other government facility, they ought to make that decision at the local level together working with citizens, law enforcement and local government leaders," Benson said.

Benson said that discussion has to include the costs of additional security.