WASHINGTON – When mayors of college towns gathered here Wednesday to discuss law enforcement challenges that come with having a campus in their cities, the University of Central Florida’s police chief steered them toward several possible solutions.
And UCF Chief Richard Beary steered them away from another – arming students and faculty members.
“Putting guns on a campus with alcohol, drugs and mental health issues, I just don’t see it having a good outcome,” Beary told a task force for mayors of college towns, on the first day of the U.S. Conference of Mayors winter meeting here.
His comments came the same day that the Arizona Board of Regents voted to oppose one Arizona House bill that would let registered gun owners to have weapons in their cars while on campus and another bill that would let students and faculty carry on campus.
In a statement Wednesday, the board said that it voted unanimously to oppose HB 2072 and HB 2338. But the statement also said that, given the “recurring events involving deranged or terrorist shooters on campuses and elsewhere,” it would work with university presidents, chiefs of police and others to find alternative solutions.
That was fine with Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell, the co-chairman of the Mayors and Metro Universities Task Force that held Wednesday’s session with Beary.
“I agree with the rules the Board of Regents already have in place,” he said after the task force meeting he convened with Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
But Arizona Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, and a sponsor of the two bills the regents oppose, said there should still be room for conversation.
“Well, sure, irresponsible gun use will have a bad outcome,” said Borrelli, the primary sponsor of HB 2072. “But right now, no one knows who’s carrying on campus and who’s not.”
Borrelli said his bill isn’t just about guns but includes other means of self-defense like Tasers that are also prohibited on Arizona college campuses.
Read more and see video: Mayors Talk Guns on Campus, as Arizona Regents Vote Against Carry Bills