Ariz. House approves bill allowing concealed-carry for public buildings

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As gun-rights supporters across the nation push to bring concealed-carry policies to college campuses, Arizona is moving one step closer to allowing weapons into public events and buildings.

Arizona's House of Representatives passed a bill on Monday that would allow those with concealed-carry permits to take their weapons into some public places -- including city offices and libraries.

HB 2320 would eliminate current rules that allow public buildings to ban guns by posting signs.

Instead, building operators must either let concealed weapons in, or use metal detectors and security guards to keep guns out.

According to the Associated Press, state Rep. Brenda Barton, R-Payson, said the bill obligates public establishments to take care of residents or let them care for themselves. “When you take away some of those rights, you are obligated to take care of your citizens and your residents,” Barton said.

The bill would not apply to places with a liquor license.

But those opposed to the bill say it would put a heavyfinancial burden on the state.

State Rep.Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix, presented legislative analysis that estimates the bill would cost the state between $10 million to $16.9 million in the first year, and anywhere between $9.4 million and $15.7 million each year after that.

“Imagine rural courts that don’t have the funding to lock up visitors’ guns— they would have no choice but to permit weapons inside. Given the volatile nature of many legal proceedings, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Pima County Democratic Party Chair Cheryl Cage told Fox News.

This isn’t the first time Arizona lawmakers have tried to establish concealed-carry in public buildings and events.

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewervetoed similar legislation four times in the past. Brewer called the bill “an unnecessary diversion of limited resource” in her latest veto message.

The bill goes next to the state Senate for a vote.