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Senator Shoots Down His Own Guns on Campus Bill

The legislation crafted by Senator Ron Gould would extend the right to those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon, to carry it on university campuses. Gould got a similar measure through the Legislature last year only to have it vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer amid concerns about its wording. He said this new version addressed those issues. But Gould said Tuesday he just could not line up the votes this time around.

"In reality, I think it's an election year question," he said. "You had some legislators that were feeling weak-kneed about it. The universities put a full-court press on them because they knew if I could get the bill up to the governor, the governor would probably sign it."

The measure would have let schools keep guns out of classrooms if they erected lockers outside each building for students to store their weapons. That proved no more acceptable with the Board of Regents estimating construction costs of $13.3 million. Gould called that a smokescreen.

"They can come up with 1,000 reasons of why they oppose it," said Gould. "And the reason they oppose it is that liberals run the university system. Liberals don't like guns. They don't want guns on their playground."

Gould will not get another chance: He is leaving the Legislature this year to run for Congress.