by Beth Baumann:
The Arizona Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to move forward with
Senate Bill 1123, which would allow college students with CCWs to carry their firearms on campus.
The bill, introduced by Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), would prevent “the governing board of
any university, college or community college” in Arizona from prohibiting law-abiding gun
owners from carrying their firearms on campus.
“I am a believer that guns save lives and if a student has a concealed weapons permit then he
or she should be able to carry on campus and thus make the campus safer,” Rogers told
Red Voice Media. During the Committee hearing, anti-gun Sen. Martin Quezada (D-Glendale) argued the 2015
shooting at Northern Arizona University is evidence the legislation is dangerous, Tucson.com reported.
The shooter was an 18-year-old freshman who shot four people, one of whom passed
away. He ultimately “pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and three counts of
aggravated assault and was sentenced to six years in prison.”
Other senators at the hearing brought up a valid point: if law-abiding gun owners were able to
carry on campus, there’s a greater likelihood that a good guy could have thwarted the attack.
But this isn’t the first time the Grand Canyon State tried passing campus carry. In fact, the last
time Arizona attempted to permit firearms on college campuses 11 years ago, I was a freshman
at Northern Arizona University.
Legislative talks at the time were absurd and centered around the idea that students could carry… but with major exceptions.
Students that lived on campus couldn’t possess a firearm in dorm rooms and firearms had to be placed in designated gun lock boxes in every building, thereby rendering campus carry useless.
Campus carry and the ability to carry is personal
The shooting at my alma mater took place a year after I graduated. It hit a little too close to
home and was a sad series to watch unfold. But the NAU shooting also reminded me of something else:
there are plenty of young women – like me – who sexually assaulted in college. We make up the more than 20% of college
women that are sexually assaulted on a yearly basis, a statistic that is alarmingly high.
Having the ability to lawfully carry a firearm is about more than just stopping mass shootings.
It’s about self-defense and self-preservation.There are many, many times I wish my peers and
I were given the opportunity to carry on campus. I wasn’t old enough to obtain a CCW, which wouldn’t
have changed my ability to defend myself during my assault. But if this bill was law while I was in college, maybe a friend or
neighbor would have heard my screams and pleas.
Maybe someone could have helped prevent my attack. I will never know if campus carry could have
prevented my assault, but I know the outcomes of what outlawing guns on campus did for me. I live with the effects
every single day.
And because of that, I can say, without hesitation, I would take the gamble and allow guns on campus. At
least I would have a fighting chance and not be a sitting duck.