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Republicans on Senate panel OK guns on college campuses in Arizona

Arizona gun rights advocates want students to be able to carry guns, but colleges and universities are opposed.

PHOENIX — The seemingly never-ending fight over guns on college and university campuses is back again. 

Arizona gun rights advocates want students to be able to carry guns, but colleges and universities are opposed. 

Republicans on the Arizona state Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved legislation that would require public colleges and universities to allow anyone with a concealed weapons permit to carry a gun.

Committee Democrats unanimously opposed the bill, which is now headed to the full Senate. 

Arizona State University's top cop told the committee that guns and students don't mix.

"I'm here to tell you firsthand experience that university students make very poor decisions on a daily basis, sometimes hourly basis," Chief Michael Thomas said. 

Republican Sen. Wendy Rogers' bill is the latest effort by GOP lawmakers to erase policies banning firearms and other weapons on college campuses in the state.

Back in September, a new conservative student club on the ASU campus called for allowing guns on campus.

Republican lawmakers have a long history of wanting to arm Arizona college students, but falling short each time:

-In 2008, after the Virginia Tech massacre, legislation would have allowed people 21 or over with concealed carry permits to have guns on campus.

-In 2011, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed weapons in public areas of campuses. That bill was introduced after the Tucson massacre that left then-Congresswoman Gabby Giffords gravely wounded.

-In 2016, after a Northern Arizona University student was killed and three others wounded in a campus shooting, there was a push to allow students to carry concealed weapons.

NAU student Steven Jones was sentenced to six years in prison in the shootings. 

Rogers' guns-on-campus bill now moves to the full Senate. It would also have to be passed by the House, before being sent to Gov. Doug Ducey for his signature. 

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