Bill would allow concealed weapons on Arizona’s public universities

Various handguns on display and for sale at Caswells Shooting Range in Mesa. (Photo by Serena Zhang/Cronkite News)

TEMPE — House Bill 2072 would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons on Arizona public universities college campuses.

Currently 22 states, including Arizona, allow college and universities to regulate concealed carry on their own. Nineteen states have banned concealed carry on college campuses, while nine states allow it.

Arizona State University’s Undergraduate Student Government sent a poll to hundreds of students through ASU’s OrgSync, which allows students to sign in through their ASU ID. Isaac Miller, President of USG Tempe, said they used that as a way to make sure people were only able to vote once. They also reached out to club leaders including the Residence Hall Association.

The results came in as 68.95 percent opposed to the bill, 28.53 percent agree with the bill and 2.86 percent are uncertain.

In a meeting Tuesday night, the Undergraduate Student Government voted to oppose the bill.

Jacob Pritchett, the director of outreach for Students for Self Defense at ASU, is strongly in favor of allowing concealed carry at ASU.

“The question we need to ask ourselves is are we only going to let criminals carry on campus or are we going to let students carry on campus to defend themselves as well,” Pritchett said.

In a statement sent to Cronkite News, ASU officials said, “The university offers education and resources to ensure that all members of the university are prepared in the event of an emergency and have the right tools to respond.”

“We believe students should have whatever they feel they need or whatever they want to protect themselves on campus,” Pritchett said, expressing the views of his club.

The Arizona Board of Regents released a statement opposing House Bill 2072, saying in part, “The board opposed the bills on the basis that the board is vested with the authority to govern the state’s public universities.”

Jay Heiler, the chairman for the Arizona Board of Regents, explained, “The potential of having a campus marshalls program, where we have significant numbers of highly trained and experienced people around each of our college campuses who will be able to engage.”

Perry Miller, president of Gun Devils Shooting Sport, is in the processes of getting his concealed carry permit after recently turning 21. Miller said he would be open to concealed carrying on ASU’s campus if this is passed.

According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, there are currently 252,503 active concealed carry permits in Arizona. About 32,000 of those permits are issued to people between the ages of 21 and 29.

When asked why Perry Miller would want the option to carry on campus, he said, “Same reason people are fighting for this bill to be passed, just the events going on in this world today, especially within the country, you just never know what’s going to happen.”

USG Tempe President Isaac Miller said, “We just want to make sure we do a lot of good outreach and then get to express that to the state legislature and they can take that into account when they vote.”