The Arizona State Senate “gave initial approval” Monday to allowing people with concealed carry permits to be armed inside some public buildings, while opponents raised the traditional arguments against it, according to published reports.
The gun law reform legislation still faces a formal Senate vote, however, according to the Associated Press and KNXV/ABC15 News. It was one of three bills that got an “initial” nod from lawmakers in Phoenix.
Federal buildings, universities and public schools would be exempt from the provisions of Senate Bill 1243, the story noted.
According to Tucson.com, State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), current law does not keep people safe, and prevents law-abiding citizens from being armed in places that could be targeted by criminals.
“Right now, the little $1.98 decal that says ‘no firearms allowed’ on the entrance to these facilities doesn’t keep bad guys out,” Kavanagh said, according to the newspaper.
Kavanagh is the bill’s sponsor. He pushed a similar measure last year that failed. Former Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed similar bills three times, the report said.
But Tucson Democrat Sen. Steve Farley contended that “allowing armed people in places like libraries and bars could create potential danger and will make emergency situations in these public places more difficult for police,” the Associated Press reported.
However, self-defense advocates have long argued that the situation Farley described is how things are right now. Kavanagh put it in perspective. Signs have never prevented criminals or crazy people from being armed in so-called “gun free zones.” A look at the history of mass shootings at shopping malls, nightclubs and schools quickly reveals that such locations may prohibit firearms, but only law-abiding citizens obey such prohibitions.
But it’s not necessarily libraries and bars Farley is concerned about. It appears to be government buildings.
“It puts a literal gun to the head of any governmental entity that wants to decide to ban guns from its territory,” Farley said, according to the AP story. “You either are going to allow guns anywhere, or you’re going to pay a whole bunch of money in order to have the secured facilities so that you can ban the guns.”
There are more than 306,000 active carry permits in Arizona, the newspaper reported. A check Tuesday with the Arizona Department of Public Safety confirmed that number.