Complaints about guns on busses has Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik calling for action to keep firearms off of Sun Tran buses. But Gun Owners of Arizona president Ken Rineer says such a move would only punish law-abiding gun owners. Such a restriction would be stronger than any state law that regulates firearms, which means that the state legislature would have to approve such a ban.
"We have instances all the time where drivers have to ask passengers to leave the bus. If you add a weapon to that exchange, then what is simply a disagreement and an argument could turn into a lethal exchange," Kozachik said.
"A criminal is going to carry his firearm on a bus whether there's a statute against it or not, so why disarm the law-abiding citizen just because they choose to carry openly, rather than concealed?" Rineer said.
Sun Tran riders have complained about people bringing loaded firearms on the bus. Recently, riders were on edge about a passenger with a loaded semi-automatic or automatic weapon on a bus. One way to avoid needing state approval is to provide gun lockers on each bus and require riders to place their weapons in those; however, neither Kozachik nor Rineer see that option as practical because of the cost involved with such a move.
Out of a handful of riders asked at the Ronstadt Transit Center downtown Monday, rather equal numbers were either not concerned one way or another, opposed to the ban, or supported banning firearms on Sun Tran buses.
"A lot of people who carry guns are not criminals, but you never know, in the heat of the moment, what will happen. And why take that chance? That's an accident and a lawsuit waiting to happen," said Sun Tran rider Joann Thompson.
"I don't think they should ban guns. I think the bus is a relatively unsafe thing to do, based on some of the stuff I've seen because I commute everyday, and so I think a random citizen with a gun, is probably a good thing," said Sun Tran rider Bryan Bowers.
State Senator Steve Farley, (D) Tucson, said that while he does not consider the current legislature likely to relax any more laws that involve firearms, he also does not see any stricter gun laws as possibilities, either. He also added that with the legislature and Tucson being at odds over gun buybacks earlier this year, usually what Tucson wants will meet opposition from the legislative majority.
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