Arizona universities release fiscal impact of guns on campus study

Arizona’s three universities say that SB 1474 will cost them $13.3 million in one-time capital costs, $3.1 million annually in operations if guns are allowed on their campuses. Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona released a fiscal impact study on Senate Bill 1474.

SB 1474 would prohibit the universities from banning anyone with a concealed-carry permit to carry firearms in their public buildings unless security personnel and gun lockers are provided and signage is posted indicating that guns are banned.

The fiscal impact study, which was prepared by each university’s budget and campus police units, recommends gun lockers be constructed into bays on the exterior wall of each building for the safest and most secure storage possible. The installation costs of external gun locker bays are estimated at an average of $17,000 per facility, but will be dependent upon architectural review of each location. The estimated cost of construction of the external locker bays is $12.4 million. The number of lockers required at each site varies by the size of the facility served; estimates by locker bank size are included in the attached individual university fiscal impact statements. The cost of the gun lockers would be $894,110. As required by the legislation, system facilities would need 2,888 new signs at a cost of $10 per sign, for a total cost of $28,880.

Each university would also need additional campus police personnel. This would incur an annual cost of $3.1 million, which includes salary and benefits. Initial training and certification costs would add to the expense in the first year. Initial training costs and staffing level assumptions are also included in the attached individual university fiscal impact statements. This analysis assumes that the locker facilities are not individually staffed and managed. If staffing at each of the lockers is required, the annual operating costs would be substantially higher.

“Guns on campus are not conducive to a productive learning environment,” said Regent LuAnn Leonard, ABOR vice chair. “The Board is adamantly opposed to any legislation that would allow guns on campus and compromise the safety of all who pass through the doors of our higher education institutions or visit our campuses on any given day. Furthermore, this legislation will saddle the universities with additional costs that will cut into educational priorities.”

At its February 16-17 meeting, the Board of Regents unanimously passed a resolution opposing SB 1474.