As noted in Tyler Montague’s post on Sonoran Alliance, there is quite a bit of debate about Arizona Senate Bill 1474. SB1474 would allow Arizona concealed weapons permit holders to carry on state college campuses, rather than leaving their weapons in their cars, where the risk of weapons theft is high. The bill even allows campuses to prohibit firearms in buildings. If colleges wish to prohibit carry by law abiding citizens, they must provide a safe storage locker and appropriate signage.
ASU President Michael Crow, who opposes the bill, has threatened to waste millions of dollars on needless lockers, signs, and additional security if SB 1474 is passed. Wasting $13 million for a false sense of security might be a good reason to replace the president of a university, but Arizona should not allow itself to be blackmailed by threats of retaliatory wasteful spending.
A Warped Imagination
President Crow wants people to, “imagine a crowded college lecture hall in which one student pulls a handgun and fires a shot, then a dozen more students untrained in the use of firearms and how to handle potentially deadly situations all pull out their guns.”
Mr. Crow asks you to imagine, because such a tragic event has never happened. He also wants you to suspend reality and imagine that training is not required in order to qualify for a concealed carry permit. Despite Mr. Crow’s imagination, Arizona requires permit holders to have a minimum amount of training in weapons use and how to respond to, or avoid deadly encounters.
Mr. Crow also wants people to imagine that police SWAT teams will be shooting innocent students in order to “take out everyone with a gun.” This is an extremely absurd scenario! Arizona Department of Public Safety officers, Phoenix Police officers, Arizona Game and Fish officers, and virtually every law enforcement department in the state of Arizona regularly deals with armed, law abiding, Arizona citizens without killing “everyone with a gun.”
Campus Police Chiefs
Campus Police Chiefs were even willing to denigrate their own officers during testimony before an Arizona Senate committee. Some chiefs explained that studies show that 85% of shots fired during officer involved shootings miss their intended targets, while reinforcing the view that officers will recklessly kill innocents. I hope those Campus Police Chiefs were merely supporting their campus management’s hyperbolic opposition. Otherwise, those chiefs should be replaced and funds should immediately be allocated for training campus police so they have the same level of competency as the rest of Arizona’s Peace Officers.
Nationwide, more than 26 colleges with more than 70 campuses already allow concealed carry on campus. None have reported the problems that the opponents of SB1474 imagine.
Police cannot be everywhere, you are your own first responder.
Even ASU has noted a Department of Justice study that found: “About 3% of coeds are raped during each academic year. Over the course of 5 calendar years, including summers and vacations, 20-25% may be raped.” Even with this level of victimization, ASU President Michael Crow lobbies to keep students defenseless. Surely, rape disrupts the educational process more than a law-abiding gun owner ever could.
During the most recent school shooting at Chardon High School, an hour elapsed before the Lake County SWAT even arrived on scene.
At the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007, the murderer’s spree went unchallenged for two and a half hours. As a result of “gun free zone” policies on the Virginia Tech campus, the murderer was able to kill students for 2.5 hours. He even had time to return to his room to reload, then go across campus to continue his spree completely unchallenged.
In December 2011, the first call to police about the most recent Virginia Tech shootings was made at around 12:30 PM. The SWAT team deployed to the student center at 2:34 PM and the campus was declared clear and safe at about 4:40 PM. Helpless and defenseless students waited fearfully for over four hours.
As Virginia Tech English Professor, Lucinda Roy noted after the December 2001 shootings in VT’s gun free zone:
“I feel our campuses are still vulnerable. Anyone can wander onto our campus at any time. I’ve had people wander into my classes I have no idea who they are, even since 2007.”
Is a Concealed Weapons Permit Good Enough?
DPS data shows that there are currently 163,425 concealed weapons permit holders in Arizona. From September 8, 1994 to February 26, 2012 only 1,115 permits have been revoked for any reason. Even if those revocations were just for the last year, the revocations would only amount to 0.68 percent of current permits. These revocations do not represent actual mishaps, and in some cases, a revoked permit may be reinstated.
When traveling outside of Arizona, an Arizona concealed weapons permit is recognized and accepted by 35 other states. This level of concealed weapons permit reciprocity suggests that our current permit training requirements are more than adequate to address public safety concerns, while allowing the individual the choice to pursue additional firearms training that fits their time, financial constraints, and training needs.
President Crow’s imagination is unsupported by facts, which is why he cannot provide any incidents that substantiate his fears. Despite the claims to the contrary, Senate Bill 1474 allows people to protect themselves while addressing legitimate safety concerns.
People have a right to self-defense and a right to bear arms. Imaginary events are a completely inadequate reason to deprive law abiding adults of their constitutional rights. In this bill, Senator Ron Gould has addressed the concerns that were expressed about similar legislation last year. Senate Bill 1474 merely allows adult citizens, over 21, who have had firearms training, submitted to fingerprinting, and passed a criminal background check to qualify for, and obtain, a valid concealed weapons permit to lawfully carry when they set foot on the soil of a college campus. The same right they already have elsewhere in the state.
I hope you will join me in supporting S.B. 1474.
Tags: Arizona, Concealed Carry, gun, Guns, legislation