As a gun owner, I agree with the Governors decision to not allow guns in government buildings. Not only from a cost standpoint but from a “well duh” viewpoint.
The Arizona Republic
by Alia Beard Rau and Mary Jo Pitzl
Apr. 30, 2011 12:00 AM
At the start of this year’s legislative session, some Arizona lawmakers and gun-rights organizations were sure this would be a banner year for gun rights.
They had one of the most conservative legislatures in the state’s history, a governor with a solid pro-Second Amendment record and a handful of bills that would put guns on college campuses and inside public buildings.
But, despite a strong bloc of lawmaker support, the bills faced hurdles at every turn. They were watered down to ensure passage through the Legislature. This week, they met their end on Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s desk.
Brewer on Friday night vetoed Senate Bill 1201, which would have required state and local governments to either allow guns in public facilities or secure those buildings with metal detectors and armed guards. Last week, she vetoed SB 1467, which would have allowed guns on college-campus rights of way.
The vetoes shocked gun advocates.
The Arizona Citizens Defense League, which called SB 1201 its centerpiece legislation, reacted with shock and dismay.
“I don’t know what’s gotten into her,” Charles Heller, the league’s spokesman, said of Brewer. “Nothing in our wildest nightmares told us we’d miss Governor (Janet) Napolitano.”
In Brewer’s veto letter for SB 1201, she said the bill had “too many loopholes and flaws” to sign.
Her main issues with the bill dealt with what she called a “double standard” for the Legislature and confusing language surrounding guns in parked vehicles on K-12 campuses as well different circumstances surrounding weapons carried concealed and openly.
The firearms omnibus would have applied to government-owned pools, libraries, community centers and offices.
It would not have applied to privately sponsored events such as professional sports games or concerts held at multipurpose facilities, even if the facilities are a public-private partnership.
Brewer defended her support of the gun rights in her veto letter, referring to her “30-year record of promoting Second Amendment rights” and offering ways to expand gun rights in the state, such as ordering the director of the Department of Administration to conduct a survey of state building to ensure compliance with gun-storage laws.
During her first year in office, Brewer signed a bill allowing loaded guns in bars and restaurants, as well as another that prohibits property owners from banning guns from parking areas, so long as the weapons are kept locked in vehicles.
Last year, she signed the concealed-carry bill into law, along with another bill that exempts from federal regulation guns made and kept in the state.
“The governor has a long and very strong pro-Second Amendment record,” said Matthew Benson, her spokesman. “But these bills, in her view, just took the state down the wrong path.”
Sen. Ron Gould, the bill’s sponsor, called the veto “par for the course,” noting Brewer has been nixing conservative legislation all month.
“To me, this is just ridiculous,” said Gould, R-Lake Havasu City. “You have a governor who claims she’s a conservative who vetoes conservative legislation.”
He said the Governor’s Office was involved in many of the changes made to SB 1201, but that apparently didn’t resolve her concerns.
“The concept is if you disarm law-abiding citizens, you make them victims,” Gould said of the rationale behind the bill. “So, the governor once again sided with criminals and psychotics instead of law-abiding citizens.”
Gould said the governor has disenfranchised at least half of the GOP caucus with her vetoes.
But opponents of the gun bill, which passed almost strictly along party lines, said Brewer is more in touch with average Arizonans, and Arizona Republicans, than GOP lawmakers at the Capitol.
“She has a better barometer of the state,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix.
Gallego said the bill would have saddled cities with the cost of installing metal detectors and hiring security guards, because, he said, many parents would have demanded that city facilities such as recreation centers and libraries be free of firearms.
An analysis by legislative staff indicated that it would cost governments about $4,000 per door for a stationary metal detector, $100 to $300 to install required gun lockers and $45,000 a year for a guard.
Heller, whose group pushed the gun bills, vowed the league will be back with a stronger effort next year.
“You ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said.
“If (Brewer) didn’t like this one, wait till you see what we come out with next year.”