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Suspected Shooter Didn’t Break the Law by Having a Gun in His Car

The Arizona Republic

In the wake of last week’s fatal shooting on the Northern Arizona University campus, many are examining the state’s gun laws. With the exception of a handful of situations, NAU, the University of Arizona and Arizona State all ban weapons on their campuses. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius.

Following a fistfight, authorities say the suspected shooter retrieved a .40 caliber pistol from his car parked on the NAU campus. He then allegedly shot four students, killing one of them.

According to the Arizona Board of Regents’ policy, the alleged shooter wasn’t breaking the law by having the gun in his car, but the moment it was removed, he may have.

NAU’s website says legally possessed firearms can be stored in cars on campus as long they’re locked.

In addition, weapons and dangerous materials are banned unless authorized by university officials. NAU says violating its policy can lead to disciplinary action or arrest.

Arizona lawmakers have pushed for expanded gun-carrying rights on campuses, but none have become law. The Board of Regents, university presidents as well as student, faculty and law enforcement groups have opposed those efforts.

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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