Gun ban on Sun Tran would take state approval

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Complaints about guns onbusses has Tucson City Council member Steve Kozachik calling for action to keepfirearms off of Sun Tran buses.  But Gun Owners of Arizona president KenRineer says such a move would only punish law-abiding gun owners.  Such arestriction would be stronger than any state law that regulates firearms, whichmeans that the state legislature would have to approve such a ban.

"We have instancesall the time where drivers have to ask passengers to leave the bus.  Ifyou add a weapon to that exchange, then what is simply a disagreement and anargument could turn into a lethal exchange," Kozachik said.

"A criminal is goingto carry his firearm on a bus whether there's a statute against it or not, sowhy disarm the law-abiding citizen just because they choose to carry openly,rather than concealed?" Rineer said.

Sun Tran riders havecomplained about people bringing loaded firearms on the bus.  Recently,riders were on edge about a passenger with a loaded semi-automatic or automaticweapon on a bus.  One way to avoid needing state approval is to providegun lockers on each bus and require riders to place their weapons in those;however, neither Kozachik nor Rineer see that option as practical because ofthe cost involved with such a move.

Out of a handful ofriders asked at the Ronstadt Transit Center downtown Monday, rather equalnumbers were either not concerned one way or another, opposed to the ban, orsupported banning firearms on Sun Tran buses.

"A lot of peoplewho carry guns are not criminals, but you never know, in the heat of themoment, what will happen.  And why take that chance?  That's an accidentand a lawsuit waiting to happen," said Sun Tran rider Joann Thompson.

"I don't think theyshould 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 thinka random citizen with a gun, is probably a good thing," said Sun Tranrider Bryan Bowers.

State Senator SteveFarley, (D) Tucson, said that while he does not consider the currentlegislature likely to relax any more laws that involve firearms, he also doesnot see any stricter gun laws as possibilities, either.  He also addedthat with the legislature and Tucson being at odds over gun buybacks earlierthis year, usually what Tucson wants will meet opposition from the legislativemajority.

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