State Senate votes to allow handguns in some schools

March 18, 2013

The Arizona Senate has approved a bill that lets employees at some rural schools be armed on campus. 

Rich Crandall Sen. Rich Crandall (R-Mesa) sponsored SB 1325. (Photo courtesy azleg.gov)

SB 1325 allows teachers and staff to carry handguns if they work at a school that’s 20 miles and 30 minutes away from the nearest police station, that doesn’t have a school resource officer, and that has fewer than 600 students.

Tucson Democrat Steve Farley voted no. He said he appreciates the bill’s narrow focus, but hopes to see changes including keeping people who carry a gun on campus anonymous, and adding a rule that parents must be notified if a gun is lost or stolen.

The bill’s sponsor, Mesa Republican Rich Crandall, said he modeled this plan after a law in Texas with a proven track record.

“One thing -- as a little bit of a shout-out to Senator Farley -- they have been very good in Texas not to expand it to include the urban areas," Crandall said. "It is still just a rural bill after six years, and I do think that’s what we need to keep it at.”

The bill also allows retired cops to carry a gun at any school in the state. It now heads to the House of Representatives.