Governor Jan Brewer vetoes gun bill that would have allowed guns in government buildings

PHOENIX - To the surprise of the bill's sponsor, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill Tuesday that that would have allowed concealed-carry permit holders to take their guns into government buildings.

Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, said she was disappointed and surprised because she believes she addressed many of the issues that the governor had with a similar bill during a prior legislative session. But Brewer stated in her veto letter that the new bill still did not meet concerns she had with similar legislation in the 2011 and 2012 sessions.

House Bill 2339 would have allowed people with concealed-carry permits to bring weapons into government buildings unless security measures -- including armed guards, metal detectors and gun lockers -- are in place. The measure excluded public K-12 schools, community colleges and universities.

"I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment, and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation to advance and protect gun rights. However, I cannot support this measure in its proposed form," Brewer wrote.

She said the bill would have placed a financial burden on cities and towns that would have been forced to pay for extra security measures if they did not want guns in government buildings.

As a major supporter of the proposed legislation the Arizona Citizens Defense League is upset with the veto. 

Media representative Charles Heller said the Governor's claim of expense is ridiculous.

"She was more concerned with cost than protecting people's rights." Heller said, "Disarmed victim zones are nothing but fatal funels." 

Also on Tuesday, Brewer vetoed a Republican-sponsored gun bill that would have imposed fines on cities, towns and their lawmakers if they enforce gun ordinances that are more strict than the state's laws. That bill, House Bill 2517, was sponsored by Rep. Steve Smith of Maricopa.

Brewer wrote in her veto letter that a citizen or organization can already take legal action if they believe a local ordinance is illegal.

"Furthermore, I am troubled by the vague and punitive provision that a person in violation of the statute is `subject to termination from employment,"' she wrote.

The vetoes are major wins for Arizonans fighting for stricter gun laws.

"We're not saying we're anti-gun, we're not saying take away people's guns, we're saying there's a time and a place and we need to be smart about these things." Said Hildy Saizow, President of Arizonans for Gun Safety.

Brewer, a Republican, has been supportive of other gun bills.

Last week, she signed into law House Bill 2483, which bans cities, counties and towns from restricting the shooting of guns on private property as long as the nearest occupied structure is more than a quarter-mile away.

 

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