Proposed bill would allow non-lethal weapons at public universities

Proposed bill would allow non-lethal weapons at public universities
(Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - An Arizona lawmaker wants to allow non-lethal weapons at public universities, including the University of Arizona.

Rep. Travis Gr antham, of Gilbert, said HB 2172 would give students more options to defend themselves while on campus.

According to the proposal, "nonlethal weapon means a weapon that is explicitly designed and developed to incapacitate or repel a person with a low probability of fatality or permanent injury…"

The potential changes would affect universities and colleges that receive public funds.

The current weapon policy at the U of A prohibits mace and oleoresin capsicum, the chemical found in most pepper spray devices.

It does allow "normally available over-the-counter self-defense repellents."

Gr antham said the currently policy is vague and leaves students feeling vulnerable.

Meanwhile, UA students are divided on the proposal. Some students think the changes are unnecessary and would make them feel more unsafe.

"I don't want to carry such weapon with me so if other guys have advantage of taking, carrying those weapons, I'd feel less safe," Mustofa Mamun said.

Kevin Gomez said, "It just seems unnecessary. I think that campus has a lot of resources that provide the necessary amount of coverage to ensure that people are safe on campus."

But other students said while they don't feel unsafe on campus, the option to carry certain items would make them feel more prepared if they were in a dangerous situation.

"I feel like on my day to day I feel very safe on campus but there are those off chances that do happen and it's nice to know if i'm the person in that situation i do have something to protect myself," Dakota Smith said.

Roxy Jones said, "Well, I feel they should be able to if they feel unsafe at some times. I feel like it should be an option for some people to have."

A date for a hearing on the bill has not been scheduled.

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