PHOENIX — Arizonans won’t be able to bring guns legally onto college campuses, Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs said Tuesday.
She vetoed legislation crafted by Rep. Rachel Jones, R-Tucson, to bar public universities or colleges from adopting any rules prohibiting someone with a permit to carry a concealed weapon from bringing the gun onto campus. The legislation also would have allowed those with CCW permits to store their weapons on campuses.
Hobbs, in her veto message, said allowing weapons to be carried or stored on campus “could lead to greater anxiety among students, staff and faculty.’’
“It may also lead to increased risk on campus and other unintended consequences,’’ she wrote. “We cannot set a precedent that allows guns on campus.’’
Hobbs rejected five other bills Tuesday, bringing her tally so far this year to 72.
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Jones told colleagues during hearings that the campus guns bill was simply an extension of the Second Amendment and its wording that the right of people to be armed “shall not be infringed.’’
“These college campuses are funded by the state, are funded by the taxpayers,’’ she said, calling it “unacceptable to me’’ that people cannot bring their weapons onto those campuses. Jones said law-abiding citizens who are armed can thwart shootings by criminals.
Also vetoed Tuesday was legislation saying machines cannot be used to conduct elections unless 100% of the parts and components are produced in the United States and the machines themselves are manufactured and assembled in this country.
“This bill could create a situation where Arizona’s election administrators are no longer able to procure certifiable voting and tabulating equipment,’’ Hobbs wrote. “It should be clear how catastrophic that would be for the successful administration of elections in Arizona.’’
The measure was opposed by many lawmakers who argued there are currently no such devices on the market.
That was not disputed by Rep. Steve Montenegro, R-Goodyear, who said this is a matter of national security. He said that’s why the legislation was not set to take effect until 2028 and would not outlaw machines already in place.
Montenegro said he was convinced that manufacturers, facing the mandate, would find ways to comply.
Hobbs also declined to expand the Teachers Academy program that provides scholarships for prospective public school teachers to students attending private and religious colleges.
The program, created in 2017, provides one year of college tuition for students at public community colleges and universities in education programs in exchange for each year of teaching in an Arizona public school. Rep. Matt Gress, R-Phoenix, sought to expand that to all private colleges offering education degrees.
Hobbs said the big problem is money.
She noted there is $15 million put into the program each year, money that is quickly spoken for by education students at public universities, where there’s a waiting list for the scholarships.
Hobbs proposed doubling that amount, but it was not included in the state budget. Absent more money, she said, she could not support taking away funds from students in public universities.
Howard Fischer is a veteran journalist who has been reporting since 1970 and covering state politics and the Legislature since 1982. Follow him on Twitter at @azcapmedia or email email@example.com.