TUCSON — Kelley Ireland spent Thursday inside a state senate committee room in Phoenix, protesting a bill that would allow loaded guns in Arizona’s public school parking lots.
Some of us are survivors. Some of us have had our lives destroyed by guns.
30 years ago, Ireland lost her only child…her 18-year-old son, Leslie, to suicide.
“He accessed a gun and shot himself over a girlfriend,” Ireland said.
This Tucsonan is now a fierce advocate of gun safety laws.
“If I see somebody packing a gun in a grocery store or a movie theater, I go the opposite way. I don’t feel safe around that person,” she said.
Currently, Arizonans can drive onto school grounds and keep an unloaded gun in their car stored out of sight. But HB-2693 would allow 18-year-old high school seniors to drive onto campus, keep a loaded gun in their car, and walk into class.
“Mothers, I want to make sure they are in a good position to defend themselves,” GOP Rep. Warren Petersen of Gilbert said.
Petersen sponsored the bill. The piece of legislation cleared the House and just passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 4-3 party-line vote.
Petersen calls it the ‘drop-off and pick-up’ bill.
“It’s not practical for people to have to stop before they drop their kids off at school, park at the school, unload their gun, leave the school, reload their gun,” he said. “There’s also safety concerns as far as a discharge if you’re unloading and reloading your gun.”
Ireland argues this legislation only creates a potential path to trouble.
“What if a child has a bad day?,” Ireland said. “What if a child is being bullied and he decides he’s going to go out and get the gun out of the car and kill a bunch of people? We don’t need guns on campus. Kids go to school to learn and play and that’s what they’re there for.”