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Arizona House approves bill allowing guns on university campuses

The Arizona House of Representatives [official website] approved a bill [text] on Friday that would allow lawful possession of guns on the public-right-of ways of university campuses. The 33-24 House vote follows Senate approval of the bill after it was amended to prohibit allowing guns inside campus buildings. Supporters of the bill assert that the constitutional right to bears arms should still be upheld on campuses, and that the bill will help people on college campuses to defend themselves in the case of a campus shooting. Opponents of the bill are concerned with putting campus police in danger if a shooting were to occur. Opponents also express fear about guns being on campus when students are emotional due to the stress of grades, exams and other situations. The bill will now be passed on to Governor Jan Brewer [official website]. If Brewer approves the bill, Arizona will become the second state, after Utah, to allow guns on college campuses.

This bill's approval comes shortly after Arizona's January shootings, during which six people were killed [JURIST report] and 13 were wounded, including a federal judge and US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) [official website]. Last month, in response to the shootings, President Barack Obama called for a greater enforcement of gun laws [JURIST report] in order to minimize gun violence. However, Arizona, known as one of the most liberal gun law states [Arizona Republic report] in the nation, is working to loosen even more gun law restrictions. Last year, Arizona passed a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons on their body without a permit [Arizona Republic report]. Gun owners may also carry their weapons inside the state Capitol and in other government buildings. Currently, at least ten other pieces of gun-related proposals are pending in the Arizona legislature.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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