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In surprise decision, Arizona governor vetoes bill that would have allowed guns on campus

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was waiting all day yesterday for this news and it finally happened. Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, vetoed a controversial gun bill that would have allowed permitted gun owners to carry weapons on campus, according to this article in The Christian Science Monitor. The bill had been significantly scaled back from its original form, which would have allowed individuals with conceal carry permits to bring their weapons into campus buildings and classrooms. The bill that hit her desk only allowed weapons – open or concealed – in public "rights of way" on campuses.

In her veto letter, Brewer said the parameters of what was allowed weren't sufficiently defined:

"Bills impacting our Second Amendment rights have to be crystal clear so that gun owners don't become lawbreakers by accident," she wrote. She also questioned whether the phrase "educational institution" in the bill could be applied to elementary and high schools.

Dead is how this bill is likely to remain. Forty votes would be needed in the House to override her veto, but supporters look to be short of that mark. The bill passed in the House 33 to 24, according to the article.

Arizona would have been the second state to allow guns on all college campuses, after Utah. Texas also has a similar bill that could be ratified soon.

Governor Brewer's vetoes are considered a setback for the conservatives who control the Arizona legislature, according to the article:
Brewer's decision was particularly surprising because she has been a champion of gun rights in the past, signing bills that allow guns into bars and restaurants and that permit gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Another controversial gun bill is on her desk now: It would require local and state government to either allow guns in public buildings or secure those buildings with metal detectors and armed guards.

Are you surprised by her decision?

Texas a step closer to being the second state to allow concealed weapons on campus

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Texas lawmakers are expected this week to send along legislation for a full Senate vote that would permit students to carry concealed handguns on the state's college campuses. According to this Huffington Post article, Texas state senators appeared poised on March 22 to send the bill toward a final vote. I wrote about this bill in late February (see Guns at school: Texas bill would allow concealed weapons on campus) and pointed out that many educators oppose such legislation:

University of Texas President William Powers has opposed concealed handguns on campus, saying the mix of students, guns and campus parties is too volatile.

This bill would make Texas the second state after Utah to allow the carrying of concealed weapons on public post-secondary campuses. The bill would grant private universities discretion as to whether they allow guns on campus, but Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, has said he will try to amend the legislation to give public university officials the same choice, according to the article.

Something I hadn't picked up from previous discussions about this legislation was that applicants for a Texas concealed handgun license must be 21 years of age, which means that many students aren't eligible. Personally, I think an age restriction is a good thing considering how many drunken brawls I've witnessed involving college-age folks (who, by the way, aren't legally allowed to be consuming alcohol in the first place).

What do you think? Would college campuses be safer if students were allowed to carry concealed weapons?

The 'key' to security: Museum masters access control

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03/21/2011

TOLEDO, Ohio—Protecting 30,000 works of art when more than 430,000 people visit the Toledo Museum of Art each year requires a combination of security measures. The most important security asset will always be security officers, said Tim Szczepanski.

Museum gains TSA certification to ship valuable artwork

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05/09/2010

DALLAS—When the value of the goods you’re shipping are often considered priceless, it’s imperative that only highly-trained personnel handle it. Thus, because it is entrusted with such highly valuable artwork, the Dallas Museum of Art was concerned with a Congressional mandate, set to take effect in August, that jeopardized its ability to control and oversee its safe transport.

Student's murder highlights need for better collaboration with police?

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Something I hear over and over from educational security folks is that their working relationship with law enforcement is critical to campus security. Many schools have memorandum of understanding documents with their local police department, establishing an official relationship and setting guidelines about each department's role.

I've been periodically reading about the murder of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia student who was allegedly killed by an ex-boyfriend. While this is certainly tragic, it's the type of incident that likely could not have been stopped by campus security, especially if there were no previous incidents.

However, something that jumped out at me in this USA Today article was that the suspect, George Huguely, was previously arrested for resisting arrest and public intoxication in Lexington, Va. in 2008. Huguely, according to the arresting officer, cursed and made threats and had to be subdued with a stun gun, according to the article.

However, the university was unaware of Huguely's previous arrest. The president of the school, John Casteen, said the law did not require police departments to inform schools about such arrests, though he said some departments do so as a courtesy. In addition, Virginia students are required to self-report such arrests, but of course Huguely did not.

While I'm not sure that it's necessary to make it a law, I would bet that most security directors at major universities do expect police to contact them of incidents involving their students. In this case, Lexington is about 70 miles away from the university and I would assume that police and university officials probably didn't have an established relationship. But does this type of incident demonstrate the need for police to always contact the university when any student is arrested? I'm sure there's logistical issues there (and the police probably want one more rule to follow), but perhaps it could've brought to light a troubled student. More information is always better than less, right?