Would bar localities from exceeding the scope of state law
PHOENIX - State lawmakers are moving to strip cities of any last vestiges of local regulation of guns.
On a voice vote Thursday, the Senate approved legislation to bar local governments from enacting any rules about who can carry a gun and where that are more prohibitive than state law or carry a greater penalty. SB 1168 expands existing laws already pre-empting some local rules to take in anything that a city might want to regulate, including regulations on storage, licensing and registration.
Any existing regulation that is in conflict would disappear if SB 1168 becomes law.
Most immediately, the legislation would overturn some communities' rules about people bringing weapons into city parks. Tucson and Pima County officials say they already follow state law, and Tucson restricts guns in some city parks where signs are posted.
It would not, by itself, kill regulations universities and community colleges now have keeping weapons off their campuses because a separate law specifically gives the governing boards of these institutions the power to regulate conduct on campus.
But Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, who wrote the legislation, made it clear that lifting restrictions at those schools is one of his goals. He calls the campuses "no-defense zones" where people are disarmed and can't defend themselves against criminals.
Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, attempted to foreclose that option by altering SB 1168 to say any state pre-emption of local regulations cannot affect colleges and universities. Her amendment was defeated.
But Pearce noted the change she sought was irrelevant: With or without his bill or her amendment, lawmakers always remain free to repeal the separate law letting governing boards regulate guns.
Pearce said there are places where it is inappropriate for people to carry guns, such as courthouses.
"But that ought to be a debate here at the Legislature and a policy set by this body," he said.