PHOENIX - Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.
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This week we’re tackling the debate on two bills regarding gun rights .
Under one of the measures, people with necessary permits could carry concealed guns on campus. Public universities and community colleges would be barred from restricting that privilege.
Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety, says we must keep the pressure on and make it crystal clear to our elected representatives that we should just say “no” to guns on campus.
Charles Heller, director of communications of the Arizona Citizens Defense League, says there is simply no real downside to letting 21-year-old CCW permit holders carry concealed weapons on campus.
Click “next page” to read the first of two positions, “ No real downside to letting it happen ”.
“No real downside to letting it happen”: By Charles Heller, director of communications of the Arizona Citizens Defense League
Universities are tasked with giving students their “skill set” to be successful. They teach important career subjects, and how to apply rational judgment and critical thinking skills, such as using comparison and analysis. Let’s do this with campus carry:
Has the LAWFUL presence of firearms at schools, served to reduce violence?
Yes, at Pearl, Mississippi in 1997, where Assistant Principle Joel Myrick, detained 16-year-old murderer Luke Woodham, at gun point.
It has worked at the Appalachian Law School shooting in 2002, where students Mikael Gross, thirty-four, and Tracy Bridges, helped detain murderer Peter Odighizuwa, at gun point.
It has worked in 2008, when attacker Alaa Abu Dhein was shot by a part-time student, Yitzhak Dadon, allowing IDF soldier Captain David Shapira enough time to finish nettralizing the threat, with his personal sidearm, carried off duty.
Has the LAWFUL carry of firearms on a campus caused any problems?
Since the fall semester of 2006, state law in Utah has allowed licensed individuals to carry concealed handguns on the campuses of all public colleges. Also, concealed carry has been allowed for several years at both Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO) and Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, VA). This has yet to result in a single act of violence at any of these schools. Numerous studies*, and various state agencies, show that concealed weapon permit holders are five times less likely than non-license holders to be arrested for violent crimes.
Will the police protect the students?
Testimony before the Arizona Legislature by the police Chief of ASU, said that, “our response time is usually about 4 minutes to any location on campus.”
The police were not able to protect the victims at Virginia Tech, Columbine, U of A, or NIU. When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
The courts have consistently ruled that the police do not have an obligation to protect individuals. In 1982, (Bowers v. Devito) a federal court of appeals said: “There is no constitutional right to be protected by the state against being murdered by criminals and madmen.” (686 F.2d 616, at 618)
Will the police be able to tell the shooter from the defender when they arrive?
Contrary to what the movies might have us believe, most real-world shootouts last less than ten seconds**. It is unlikely that an exchange of gunfire between an armed assailant and an armed citizen would last more than a couple of seconds before one or both parties were disabled. If the assailant were disabled, he would be unable to do any more harm.
When arriving officers order the CCW permit holder to drop the gun, he does. The VCA (violent criminal actor) often does not. That is a problem that the police are well equipped to solve.
In summation, there is simply no real downside to letting 21-year-old CCW permit holders, carry concealed weapons on campus.
Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.
Click "next page" to read the second position, "Say no to guns on campus"
"Say no to guns on campus": By Hildy Saizow, president of Arizonans for Gun Safety
The voice of reason – and just about every academic leader and law enforcement expert in the state -- says no to guns on college campuses. Legislators, however, think they know better. So, despite widespread opposition across all sectors of the public, the legislature continues to move on SB 1474 allowing guns on college campuses. Let’s look at the facts to discern just who the legislature is representing in this debate.
Arizona voters do NOT support guns on campus. In a public opinion poll conducted one year ago, an overwhelming 69% of Arizonans including 56% of gun owners opposed the proposal to allow concealed weapons on college campuses.
All key university-related interest groups and individuals oppose guns on campus. This includes Michael Crow (ASU President), Eugene Sander (U of A President), John Haeger (NAU President), Arizona Board of Regents, all 3 university Police Chiefs, Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Association, Mayor Sara Pressler (Flagstaff), Students Against Guns in Education, Graduate and Professional Student Association (ASU, U of A), Arizona Student Association, Associated Students of the University of Arizona, and the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police.
Numerous safety-related and injury prevention organizations oppose guns on campus. This includes Arizonans for Gun Safety, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Church Women United, Arizona Ecumenical Association, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus.
While SB 1474 allows universities to prohibit guns in buildings and classrooms, the cost of providing the mandated gun storage lockers at building entrances will be a tremendous burden on university budgets, particularly after huge cuts in state funding the last few years. Estimates vary from $100 to $300 per locker to as much as $5,000 per door installation costs, and there are 1,828 buildings on state campuses. The cost will run into the millions of dollars.
Guns do not belong in places designed for children and youth, education and learning, and academic freedom. That is why all three state universities currently have policies banning deadly weapons on campus.
Universities have high levels of drug and alcohol use including binge drinking, high suicide rates, and high rates of casual theft. Adding firearms to this mix only increases the risk of injury and decreases the safety of those on campus.
Law enforcement officials believe guns on campus will complicate police work and endanger bystanders, if when they respond to a shooting scene there are multiple people with firearms in their hands.
Let’s not forget the fact that the legislature has reduced requirements for obtaining a concealed carry permit in recent years. Today, a gun owner in Arizona can get a permit without ever having handled a gun or understanding firearm safety.
Finally, a look at crime data shows that college campuses are much safer places than the communities surrounding them. So, with all these reasons to oppose guns on campus, why are legislators pushing SB 1474?
A recent Senate Judiciary Hearing provides a clue. Eighteen individuals testified against SB 1474, and only two testified for it – one of whom was the NRA lobbyist, not even from Arizona. Clearly, legislators voting for this bill are not representing the people of Arizona.
We must keep the pressure on and make it crystal clear to our elected representatives – Arizonans say NO to guns on campus.
Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.
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