Ariz. gun laws debate re-ignited after Tucson shooting

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TUCSON, Ariz. – The mass shooting in Tucson has renewed the debate over Arizona’s gun laws which some call the loosest in the nation.

Members of the Arizona legislature are considering giving even more rights to gun owners.

This session the state legislature will consider two bills that would allow faculty, and whoever else has a qualified permit, to take their gun to school. Critics say that will not solve the problem.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says, “Colleges outta be run by college presidents, not the Arizona legislature, but that’s the ridiculous state that we have become.”

The sheriff has not kept his feelings about Arizona’s gun laws a secret in light of Saturday’s shooting.

He is critical of two bills, House Bill 2001 and 2014, which would allow any college faculty member and those who have a proper permit to take their guns on campus.

Sen. Ron Gould says, “We ran a similar bill several years ago in the Senate and it was after the Virginia Tech shooting.”

Sen. Ron Gould, who supports both bills, says he wants to prevent that from happening again and says determined individuals are going to carry and use their gun regardless of laws against it. “We can’t put guns back into Pandora’s Box and seal it back up because once it’s open, you can never close it again.”

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema says, “Americans have a fundamental right to bear and carry arms but I believe that we have a duty to place restrictions on that amendment to provide for the safety of the community.”

Sen. Sinema says that while both the shootings at Virginia Tech and Tucson are tragic, the answer is not to ease up on current gun laws. “I don’t think that legislation is right for our state. I think if there’s one place we don’t need weapons its government buildings, community colleges and universities.”

The sponsor of both bills, Republican Congressman Jack Harper, would not appear on camera with 3TV but told USA Today, “When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim.”