Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Home / legislature / Senate panel approves bill to allow loaded firearms on campus

Senate panel approves bill to allow loaded firearms on campus


It’s billed by proponents as a way moms can defend themselves from attackers while dropping their children off at school. But legislation that cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday on a 4-3 party-line vote also would permit high schoolers who are at least 18 to bring and keep loaded weapons in their vehicles. And that alarmed some foes of HB 2693 who said it creates the opportunity for what starts out as a spat among students to quickly escalate if one goes out to the parking lot to retrieve the weapon.

That possibility did not bother Sen. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert.

He pointed out that existing law already permits adults – anyone 18 and older – to drive on to public school campuses with a weapon in the vehicle. And if the person leaves the vehicle, the weapon has to be stored out of sight and the vehicle must be locked.

The only difference, Farnsworth said, is that current law requires that the weapon be unloaded before reaching the school, a requirement HB 2693 would eliminate.

Dave Kopp, lobbyist for the Arizona Citizens Defense League, said that the current law actually creates more possibilities for accidents by forcing people to unload a weapon before arriving on campus. He said the likelihood of a gun discharging increases every time it’s handled – including when it’s being loaded or unloaded.

That logic drew criticism from Sen. Martin Quezada, D-Glendale.

“In my opinion, I think the very last people we want to have carrying guns on a school campus are the ones that have difficulty with the most simple task of loading and unloading their weapons,” he said. “If you can’t handle that simple task, perhaps you should leave your gun at home before you drive to school.”

Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, said he crafted the measure with the help of the National Rifle Association.

“It’s not practical for people to have to stop before they drop their kids off at school, unload their gun, park at the school, leave the school, reload their gun,” he said.

The bottom line, he said, is self-defense.

“We all know that criminals have no concern for the law,” Petersen said.

“They’re going to carry weapons wherever they want to carry weapons in any way that they want to,” he continued. “I want to make sure that a mother who needs to be in a position to defend herself that that will be afforded to her as well.”

Judith Simons, a retired teacher, had a different take.

“One of the reasons I retired when I did was increasing fear of gun violence at school,” she said.

Simons also said that the legislation, as worded, does not limit the ability to bring a loaded weapon onto campus to situations where a parent is simply dropping off a child. She said it covers things like conferences, disciplinary hearings, and after-school events.

What it also covers are those who are on campus all day like staff members and high school students.

“Can you imagine situations where tempers flare, people react in the heat of the moment?” Simons asked.

“Please don’t risk public safety in public places where most of the people there are children,” she testified. “Please prioritize not the NRA but your local PTA.”

Farnsworth, however, said he sees only a minor difference between allowing the gun to remain loaded or having it in the vehicle with the magazine next to it. Anyway, he said, there already are laws to address the situation that Simons fears.

“You can’t take it out of the car legally,” Farrnsworth said.

Kelley Ireland with the Tucson chapter of Moms Demand Action had another point. She said the legislation would conflict with federal laws that prohibit the possession of loaded weapons on school campuses.

Daniel Reid, lobbyist with the National Rifle Association, told lawmakers he could not immediately answer the question of the conflict between this bill and federal law.

The measure, which cleared the House earlier this month on a 31-27 vote now needs a vote of the full Senate.


  1. another moderated site…

    Gun Free Zones are killing zones..
    Mindless gun-free zones are what mass shootings have in common. They are killing zones, free from good guys with guns.

  2. 1. Yes, some who carry firearms don’t have much experience, but even the VERY experienced can have a negligent discharge. If they’re following the 4 rules, it’s unlikely to cause any harm, but they had to break some of them to even HAVE a negligent discharge. However, gun schools teach to minimize “administrative handling” of loaded firearms. Frequently translated to “stop touching it”. A gun in a holster is totally safe, even loaded. Pulling it and unloading it increases risk. Oh, and one of the 4 rules is about keeping it pointed in a safe direction. Frequently stated “never point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy”. So where can I point my handgun while sitting in my car seat in a school parking lot?

    2. Statements about leaving it at home are irrelevant. An attack can happen anywhere (no place is “safe”) and who’s to say that my neighborhood or one I pass through on the way home isn’t worse than the school.

    3. “Tempers flare” arguments are PROJECTION. Just because you can’t control your temper doesn’t mean I can’t control mine. I take armed self-defense VERY seriously. I don’t get in fights because I know EVERY fight I’m involved in is a gunfight – because I brought the gun. That tends to make me LESS likely to “go off” than someone who’s not armed. On the other hand, at 55 years old and a disabled vet, with a bad back, I’m not going to win many fist fights. And even one punch can be fatal if the puncher knows what he’s doing – especially against a smaller and weaker punchee. That plus disabilities is WHY I carry a gun.

    Conclusion – I’ll wear my gun, holstered, in my car, while I pick up my grandkids at school – and never leave the car (all legal under current law). And if I have to go inside, the gun comes off the belt (still in the holster – see #1) and is locked in the car. And I HATE that – if anyone knows I carry, they know there’s a gun in the car ripe for stealing. A better option would let me walk inside with it. Remember, it’s still holstered and covered. And you’ll never know its there unless there’s an attack, and maybe not even then.

  3. Just when I think that the AZ legislature has plumbed the depths of stupidity they dig one inch deeper. God save us from these people and the NRA.

    I’m 64 years old and I’ve been all over this country and the world and never felt the need to carry a gun. That is until the NRA, the Supreme Court and these legislators decided that any incompetent, terminally stupid or unstable moron with two nickels to rub together should be able to own a firearm.

    Mr Elmer inadvertently provided the most powerful counter-argument to this legislation when he noted that
    “EVERY fight I’m involved in is a gunfight – because I brought the gun.”. Exactly. Every fight or altercation on school grounds will become a gun fight because someone brought a gun.

    This is what we call in nuclear deterrence parlance, MAD(mutual assured destruction).

  4. “It’s billed by proponents as a way moms can defend themselves from attackers while dropping their children off at school,” and that is a strawman argument. Like Republicans’s claims “I heard…” there was voter fraud. ZERO EVIDENCE to support HB 2693 — it’s nothing more than never-ending AMMOSEXUALISM from AZ Republicans.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




Check Also

Election challenges mount

Kris Mayes is asking a judge to toss a bid by her Republican foe to void the results of the election which shows her winning the race for attorney general.