For the second year in a row, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed people to carry guns in government buildings.
HB2729 would have required any government entity in Arizona to allow firearms in public buildings, unless the buildings had adequate security measures to ensure that no one could bring a gun inside.
“I vetoed a similar measure last year, and it appears the majority of my concerns were not addressed in House Bill 2729,” Brewer said in her veto letter. “I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation over these past few years to advance gun rights. However, I cannot support this measure in its current form.”
In her veto letter, Brewer said she was concerned about the bill’s cost to government entities that would be forced to implement new security measures if they wanted to keep guns out of public buildings, and said decisions on whether to allow guns in “sensitive locations” such as city council chambers should be made by citizens, law enforcement officials and government leaders.
She also cited U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s words from the landmark Second Amendment case ~Heller v. District of Columbia,~ in which the conservative justice said governments have a right to prohibit firearms in sensitive places such as government buildings.
“Decisions made by government officials at the state, county and municipal level impact all areas of life and can have a profound impact upon an individuals’ family and livelihood. Emotions can run high,” Brewer wrote.
Brewer appeared to invoke the 1997 shooting of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox following a board meeting. Wilcox last week wrote a letter urging Brewer, who served with her on the Board of Supervisors at the time, to veto the bill.
Wilcox lauded Brewer’s veto.
“I’m grateful that common sense prevailed over the ideological views of a few. Government employees will sleep better tonight,” Wilcox said in a press statement.
The governor said many government entities that wanted to continue prohibiting firearms in public buildings would have to spend “untold dollars” to enact new security measures such as the ones at the Legislature and the Executive Tower. The Joint Legislative Budget Committee estimated that security measures would cost up to $113,800.
“If nothing else, the result would be extensive confusion regarding where guns are permitted or not permitted in public buildings,” Brewer wrote.
Brewer said the bill did not address the concerns she had when she vetoed SB1201 in 2011, though it was not apparent which concerns she was referring to. In her 2011 veto letter, Brewer focused on language that would have allowed guns at K-12 schools and on the “double standard” it would have created for the Legislature and other public bodies. But HB2729 would have left intact laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms on school grounds.
Rep. David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, the bill’s sponsor, could not immediately be reached for comment.