Crackpot Gun Scheme By Addled Lawmakers

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Sometimes, it seems like half the Arizona lawmakers must be getting paid by the New Mexico tourism department to scare up headlines to keep people away from Arizona.

Sen. Ron Gould’s (R-Lake Havasu City) bill to force universities to allow students and faculty to all carry hidden handguns seems a perfect case in point.

We’d figure the Lake Havasu City heat had baked the poor boy’s brain, except the reckless notion passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and has apparently gained the support of Senate President Pro-Tem Sylvia Allen (R-Snowflake).

The bill’s backers say that guns are not the problem — people are the problem. So if you want to keep bad people with guns from laying waste to the lecture hall, best thing to do is make sure all the good guys are packing.

Just about everyone connected with the state’s universities and community colleges has come out against this strange notion — including all three university police chiefs and all three university presidents.

ASU President Michael Crow asked the remaining sane and sensible lawmakers to consider a shoot-out in a crowded lecture hall — and how the arriving SWAT team would figure out who to take out.

Granted, the law does allow universities and community colleges to prevent people from taking their guns into buildings and stadiums — but only if they pay the substantial cost of putting up gun lockers outside each entrance.

Mind you, the federal Centers for Disease Control reports that people use firearms to kill 31,000 Americans annually. Firearms remain one of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., especially among young people (like, let’s say, students). Guns account for another 200,000 non-fatal injuries.

Our Constitution protects citizens’ right to bear arms. We support that, but allowing immature students to take hidden weapons into a classroom is not right.

Gould, Allen and the rest of the legislative brain trust figures what we really need are more stressed out students packing heat during finals week. Imagine the debates about evolution you could have in a biology class if the professor and half the students were armed.

A similar measure last year made it all the way through our Legislature, only to fall to a veto by Gov. Jan Brewer who said it was “poorly written.”

We can’t imagine why lawmakers would force this bit of idiocy on the police departments charged with safeguarding all those campuses.

Unless … of course … they’re determined to provoke enough ridicule nationally to satisfy their cynical paymasters at the New Mexico Department of Tourism.

Food bank drive shows heart of this community

You did it again. What a great place to live. What wonderful neighbors to have. We’re talking about the marvelous success of the Payson Area Food Drive, for the third year in a row.

You guys donated nearly $35,000, a whopping $10,000 increase from last year’s total.

Moreover, you donated 68,200 pounds of food — enough to provide nearly 1,400 weekly food boxes. The food donated weighs more than three school buses.

The successful drive hit a crescendo on Super Bowl Sunday, with a final rush of 1,500 pounds of food.

Mind you — both donations and the need proved so strong that the food drive actually raised the target from the original 55,000 pounds.

Chairman Roger Kreimeyer spent countless hours organizing the drive. He called on the help of a wonderful coalition of churches and community groups like the Boy Scouts, Rotary, student groups, many businesses and the local media.

The help from this great-hearted community came just in time to rescue St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank and other groups that feed the hungry here in Rim Country. The food banks have experienced a heart-rending surge in need as a result of this seemingly never-ending economic slump. Just as demand peaked, Valley food banks that once shared donations with local food banks stopped those deliveries to cope with their own soaring demand.

Fortunately, generous people of our beloved community rushed to fill the gap, demonstrating conclusively why we’d rather live here than any place on the planet.

Kreimeyer notes that some people who contributed all they could had difficulties of their own. But they still made sacrifices for their neighbors.

So, congratulations: You answered the call and opened your hearts.

What great place to live.

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