Arizona governor vetoes bill allowing guns in state buildings

PHOENIX Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:00pm EDT

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer talks to reporters after voting for Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Glendale, Arizona February 28, 2012. REUTERS/Joshua Lott

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer talks to reporters after voting for Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in Glendale, Arizona February 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott

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PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday vetoed a controversial bill that would have allowed people to tote guns into state government buildings that previously had been off-limits.

For the second consecutive year, Brewer rejected the measure backed by gun rights advocates to allow guns in public buildings, except where security personnel were posted at the entrances and metal detectors or X-ray machines were present.

Under current Arizona law, state authorities can ban guns from being carried into public buildings such as libraries, senior centers and city halls by posting a sign at their entrances.

The Republican governor said a "more thorough and collaborative discussion" is needed before such legislation could be signed into law.

"The decision to permit or prohibit guns in these extremely sensitive locations ... should be cooperatively reached and supported by a large coalition of stakeholders," said Brewer, in her veto message.

Arizona would have become the 10th state in the nation to pass such legislation, according to several news reports.

Charles Heller, co-founder and spokesman of Arizona Citizens Defense League, said the group "expected better from someone who was rumored to be an ally of freedom."

"We wish she would show more respect for Arizona's constitutional provision about the right to keep and bear arms," he told Reuters, moments after learning of the veto.

But opponents of the bill called the veto a "common sense approach" to the often explosive issues surrounding guns in public places.

"We need multiple conversations with all the parties," said Dale Wiebusch, legislative associate for the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. "We need to be able to sit down and hash things out. That's the only way we are going to come up with answers," he added.

In her veto message, Brewer also said she was concerned that governments would be forced to bear the financial costs of providing for security measures to restrict guns being brought into public buildings.

Maricopa County, the state's largest, estimated that it alone would have to spend $11.3 million for equipment and $19.5 million annually.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Comments (3)
Ralphooo wrote:
And why won’t they let me have a hand grenade? I need to protect myself and my family. I need to stand my ground. When grenades are outlawed, only outlaws will have grenades.

Suppose my house is surrounded by undesirables carrying machine guns, and I only have eight or ten automatic rifles. Then what?

Apr 18, 2012 10:32am EDT  --  Report as abuse
axisofoil wrote:
Common sense says that if you are going to disarm law abiding citizens, that you should at least make an effort to disarm the would-be criminals in the same places. Level the playing field. This doesn’t impose any costs on public buildings. There is no statute requiring public buildings to prohibit the carrying of firearms. If the building so chooses to prohibit carrying firearms, only then they will incur the costs of such.

Apr 18, 2012 11:02am EDT  --  Report as abuse
yardbird wrote:
So, a taxpaying citizen of Arizona must leave his or her gun in the car when they go to the library?

Apr 18, 2012 1:01pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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