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Brewer vetoes bill to allow concealed weapons in public buildings

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Arizonans will not be allowed bring their guns into public buildings, at least not this year.

Gov. Jan Brewer this afternoon vetoed HB 2339 which would have allowed those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to ignore a “no guns” sign posted at the door. The only way a government agency could keep out all weapons would have been to install metal detectors and place armed guards at each public entrance.

In her veto letter, Brewer noted that she vetoed similar measures in 2011 and 2012 and said the majority of her concerns were not addressed in HB2339.

“I am a strong proponent of the Second Amendment and I have signed into law numerous pieces of legislation to advance and protect gun rights. However, I cannot support this measure in its proposed form,” she wrote. “I also am concerned about the fiscal impact of this legislation. This bill would establish an unfunded mandate on our state and local governments. It is an unnecessary diversion of limited resources.”

Separately, Brewer vetoed legislation to add more teeth to existing laws that pre-empt the right of cities to enact their own gun laws.

HB 2517 would have required a court to assess a fine of up to $5,000 against any elected or appointed government official, or the head of any administrative agency, if there is a knowing and willful enactment of a local gun law that exceeds the restrictions permitted by the state.

That same measure also would have precluded the use of public funds to defend or reimburse someone found guilty of breaking the law for his or her legal costs. And it would have permitted individuals and gun-rights groups to sue local officials and, if they are successful, get reimbursed for actual damages of up to $100,000.

But the measure with the larger impact would have been HB 2339.

Current law says anyone carrying a weapon has to surrender it at the door of a public building if there are lockers immediately available. But only some buildings have armed guards and metal detectors to ensure compliance.

Proponents of the legislation said the result is that those who obey the signs are defenseless if someone else enters the building and starts shooting.

Brewer has proclaimed herself a strong supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. But the governor has previously vetoed other measures she said would endanger public safety.

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