The state House voted Wednesday to let anyone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon bring it into many public buildings. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
Governments can declare their buildings off-limits for weapons if they provide lockers for people to store their guns. The measure says anyone who has gone through the state-required training and background check to have a concealed-carry permit can ignore the “no guns” signs, lockers or not. Governments could maintain their weapons-free zones — but only if they also put in metal detectors and armed guards at each door. Rep. Victoria Steele complained that would force taxpayers to spend $136,000 to protect each entrance. But Rep. John Kavanagh said there’s another solution: Do nothing, because permit holders pose no risk.
“These very same people that some think will become dangerous with a weapon in a public building are the very same people who they walk past on the sidewalk in front of the public building carrying a weapon, who they bump into in the supermarket carrying a weapon, who sit next to them in a movie theater carrying a weapon. These people, if they’re dangerous, would have exploded a long time ago,” Kavanagh said.
And, Rep. Eddie Farnsworth said criminals ignore the “no guns” signs now and take their hidden weapons into buildings where there are no metal detectors and armed guards to stop them.
“So this is a leveling measure that once again recognizes our God-given rights to protect ourselves,” Farnsworth said.
The measure now goes to the Senate.