The Arizona Board of Regents on Friday approved a resolution reaffirming its position that the state’s university campuses should be weapons-free.
The resolution, passed unanimously, was a response to a bill pushed in the Legislature by Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, that would allow any person with a concealed-carry permit to have a concealed firearm on university and community college campuses.
Weapons are currently banned by law on campuses.
The bill was approved by the state Senate Judiciary Committee after it was amended to exclude K-12 schools.
"Owning a gun requires a great deal of responsibility, and in a learning environment we have to manage a lot of moving parts. When we inject in a weapon, I can’t guarantee everyone is going to be a responsible gun owner," said Regent Ernest Calderón, himself a gun owner and NRA member.
Christine Thompson, the board’s assistant executive director for government affairs, also briefed the regents on budget legislation passed Thursday that would direct state agencies not to spend beyond a certain point.
Without actually cutting the budget, the bill would direct the state university system to spend $25 million less than than what was allotted for this year.
The board would determine the distribution of the cuts, while the central office would take a spending reduction of 5 percent, or $388,000, Thompson said.
The regents did not discuss the legislation or other budget issues, but after the meeting Regent Fred Boice said hiring limits the three university presidents have instituted is the most appropriate action at this point.
"We know it’s a tight revenue year, and we will be cooperative in every way we can," Boice said.
"We have increasing enrollment and greater demands to educate the students of Arizona," he said.
Boice said the regents won’t speculate about how precisely to distribute any budget cuts until the state’s budget is finalized.