Arizona CCW on Campus


March 21, 2008, 05:48 PM
Thought you some of you may be interested in reading my letter to the District 17 [Democratic] Senator.

Dear Senator Cahill,

I am generally a stoic and self-reliant individual, but tonight I read a recent news article that so unnerved me I feel compelled to share it. First, though, I think you deserve some background on who I am, and why I care about SB 1214.

I am a Ph.D student in engineering at [school], a proud gay rights supporter, registered Democrat, and recreational target shooter. Every third Saturday I join the Phoenix chapter of the Pink Pistols, an organization which promotes responsible firearm ownership among sexual minorities for the purpose of self-defense, for an hour of relaxed target shooting and coffee. It was through them that I learned of SB 1214 and the security it may provide college students like myself.

I support the policy of allowing licensed concealed carry permit holders to carry their firearms concealed while on a school's campus. For the purposes of this bill, I believe a school includes K-12 education as well as university and community college campuses, though amendments may have limited that to just higher education at this point.

I must also admit that I am not particularly thrilled about the general idea of students carrying weapons. However, this initial aversion was substantially quelled when I recognized that most students are under 21 years of age and thus do not qualify for the carry permit (in fact, only 10% of Arizona permit holders are under 30**). Furthermore, obtaining such a permit requires safety training, fingerprinting, and extensive background checks that few individuals interested in aggression would want to undergo. As a student, I would feel much more comfortable if my professors and university faculty were allowed to exercise their right to carry concealed. In Utah concealed carry on college campuses is allowed, and I believe that a similar treatment in Arizona could provide a significant deterrent to school shootings.

Even if I am wrong on that last point, and the incomprehensible motives that fuel these tragedies remained unaffected, it would not be possible for a rampage, like that which persisted at Virginia Tech and resulted in the deaths of 32 people, to be repeated in the presence of a responsible citizen with their own firearm.

I realize that we have a campus and city police force. They are presumably well-trained, in addition to being, in my personal experience, extremely polite and courteous to innocent inquiries. This is a clear and obvious objection to the points which I have raised. However, the tragic events at Virginia Tech and NIU have given me reason to believe that, despite the real safety that our security services provide, in moments of sudden violence victims must often find themselves shockingly alone. Only a few hours ago, I received yet another reminder. I forward you this story, in which a woman was murdered this morning in her home, while on the phone with the local 911 dispatcher.

I hope you also recognize the need for self-reliant self-defense, and that our campuses are currently unprotected by that standard. Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns.



---- Reproduced below is a copy of the CNN article from this afternoon. ----
Gunshots bring abrupt end to frantic 911 call
WEST COVINA, California (AP)
A woman was asking a 911 dispatcher for help when her pleas were interrupted by gunshots, then silence.

She was shot to death.

The woman told the dispatcher someone was trying to break into her home in upscale West Covina, Los Angeles County sheriff's Lt. Dan Rosenberg said.

"Deputies heard gunshots followed by silence and an open phone line," he said.

Deputies arrived at the house, 20 miles east of Los Angeles, a few minutes after Wednesday's late morning call.

The woman, whose name was not released by police, had been shot several times. Paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene.

"At this point we believe it was a burglary gone awry," Rosenberg said.

Investigators are trying to determine if anything was taken, Deputy Luis Castro said.

While police were investigating the shooting, a man arrived at the home asking about his wife.
When he heard that the woman had been shot and killed, he collapsed and started to cry, saying "No! She just called me. You lie."

The man was placed in a patrol car and taken to a sheriff's station, police said.

Witnesses said they saw one or more men running from the house, Rosenberg said. Investigators used bloodhounds to conduct yard-to-yard searches.

No arrests had been made by Thursday morning, deputies said.
As a precaution during the search, a high school and an elementary school were locked down for about two hours, police Lt. Dan Brooks said.

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March 21, 2008, 06:37 PM
Nice letter, Belus. If only there were a few million more of them, we could get campus carry passed in most states. Keep up the good work!!!!

History Prof
April 2, 2008, 11:55 PM
My letter to State Senator Huppenthal. He is a Republican, but probably the one senator who can stop SB 1214. I cc'd the letter to the senator from my district and my two reps.


Dear Senator Huppenthal,

I am a history professor at ***. I am also a holder of an Arizona concealed firearms permit. I am writing to ask you to support SB 1214, which would allow those with concealed weapons permits to carry on Arizona's campuses.

"Bad guys" who choose to commit acts of violence care nothing for laws that prohibit the carrying of firearms on colleges campuses. The current prohibition means absolutely nothing to someone who would do such a thing. Actually, let me correct that: it means EVERYTHING to them, as they know that law abiding students and faculty, even those of us with CCW permits, will be UNARMED and unable to defend ourselves against an attack.

At the college where I teach, faculty have been instructed that in the event of an active shooter event, we should lock or barricade the doors. That is all well and good, but in the classroom where I teach, the doors can only be locked from the outside. In order to lock the doors, I would have to leave the classroom, insert the key in the keyhole, turn the key, and then return to the classroom. And then I would have to go to the other side of the classroom and lock the SECOND door in the same manner. Locking my doors would be impossible. Further, my doors open out. Barricading the doors is NOT an option.

More importantly, my classroom faces the busiest lobby of the busiest classroom building on campus: the place that an active shooter would be MOST LIKELY to begin a shooting spree. There is one other classroom within easy reach of this lobby. That means that if an active shooting did begin in that lobby, there is a 50/50 chance that he, she or they would then move into my classroom, where I can neither lock nor barricade the doors.

Now, I am not a Rambo. If such a shooting did occur, and SB 1214 were to become law, I would not go out into the lobby and actively pursue the shooter. But if the bill were a law, I would at least be in a position to defend myself and my students in the event that such a shooter were to attempt to enter my classroom.

HOWEVER, it is more likely that if SB 1214 became law, shooters would AVOID our state's campuses, knowing that faculty and students may be armed and prepared to defend themselves. Thank you for your time and consideration.

I am, sincerely yours,

Dr. History Prof
*****, AZ

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