Bill that allows college students to carry concealed guns moves through Arizona Legislature

By Kathy Ritchie
Published: Monday, February 20, 2023 - 9:07am
Updated: Monday, February 20, 2023 - 9:53am

gun in a holster
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A bill that would allow a university or community college student to carry a concealed firearm on campus is moving through the state Legislature. 

If the bill becomes law, a student who wants to carry a firearm on campus would first need to obtain their concealed carry permit. 

Lawmakers heard from those both for and against the bill, including Michael Thompson, ASU’s chief of police. He’s concerned about guns on campus.

“One of the major things we deal with at the university that keeps me up at night is mental illness,” he said.

This bill would prohibit someone with a mental illness from carrying on campus. 

Still, Thompson says there’s no way his officers would know, even during the CCW application process.

“They ask you if you have a mental illness,” he said. “But they don’t go through a mental health evaluation.”

Backing the measure was Fountain Hills Councilmember Allen Skillicorn. He talked about two scenarios in which a female student or faculty member were potentially at risk of a possible assault.

“Going to and from classes, going to and from work and her home, crisscrossing through downtown Tempe, going across potentially campus-owned properties and public-owned properties and such. Under current situation, she cannot defend herself, she doesn’t have the right to self-defense, she doesn’t have the right to the Second Amendment,” Skillicorn said

Those against the bill said other states that passed similar laws or policies allowing guns on campus did not see a drop in crime. 

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