Leave it to Arizona to get it wrong. In spite of public polling and the expressed desires of a majority of students and faculty, the Arizona State legislature has passed a law allowing firearms on state campuses.
Two days after the Jan. 8 Tucson shootings, as Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lay in a medically induced coma, Arizona’s House of Representatives introduced the session’s very first piece of legislation: a bill allowing college professors to carry concealed weapons on campus.
A similar bill, SB 1467, which would allow anyone to carry a gun on the sidewalks and roads of public universities, sailed through the House last Thursday, despite the fact that the majority of Arizonans oppose sending guns to college.
“The legislature is being very extreme on gun issues, and it couldn’t be more opposite to what the public wants,” said Hildy Saizow, President of Arizonans for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group.
Nearly 70 percent of Arizonans and 56 percent of gun owners did not want to expand gun rights on college campuses, according a February poll by American Viewpoint, a Republican-leaning research company.
On campuses, the opposition is even stronger. More than 80 percent of the state’s students and parents opposed the bill in its original form — which would have allowed guns inside university buildings and dorms — according to a 1,400-person survey done by Arizona State University Regents’ professor Stuart Lindsay. Another round of polls by the Graduate and Professional Student Association at ASU found that two-thirds of graduate students would feel less safe if firearms were allowed anywhere on campus, even within locked cars or in the hands of professors.