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Senate kills bill to allow concealed weapons in government buildings

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A bid to allow some gun owners to bring their weapons into public buildings has suffered a setback, perhaps a fatal one.

On a tie vote, the Senate on Wednesday killed legislation that would have allowed those who have a state-issued permit to carry a concealed weapon to ignore the “no guns” signs on many government buildings. The defeat came even after Sen. Debbie Lesko, R-Peoria, said the signs are useless and that criminals already ignore them.

But backers of the measure, led by the Arizona Citizens Defense League, made a last-minute push to convince at least two foes to change their minds to provide the required 16 votes to send the measure to the governor.

Current law allows the operators of government buildings to declare their facilities to be weapons-free zones by posting signs at entrances and providing lockers so those who are armed can store their guns.

SB1257 would overrule that, saying that government agencies would have to buy and install metal detectors and have security guards at all public entrances. More to the point, the failure to do that would mean that those who have concealed-carry permits could ignore the signs.

Getting a permit requires a background check as well as attending a class on weapons training and safety. At last count, the Department of Public Safety has issued more than 265,000 of these permits.

Lesko chided colleagues for refusing to go along.

“If there’s a little sticker on the outside of a public building that says you can’t have a gun, I don’t think that the bad guys that want to kill somebody inside are going to be stopped at the door and say, ‘Oh, my, there’s a little sticker there, I’d better not go in,’’’ she said. “People with ill intent will go in.”

 

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