PHOENIX - Calling the legislation "poorly written," Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday vetoed legislation that would have let people carry their guns in the public rights of way through university and community college campuses.
She also nixed legislation that would have required candidates for president to provide documents proving they meet the federal constitutional requirement to be a "natural-born citizen" before their name is placed on the ballot.
Brewer said giving the secretary of state authority to decide if a candidate is eligible, as the law would have allowed, "could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions."
She also suggested there was an "ick" factor in the measure, noting candidates who could not produce a "long form birth certificate" would have the option of instead furnishing other documents.
"I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for President of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their 'early baptismal or circumcision certificates' among other records to the Arizona secretary of state," Brewer wrote.
The veto of the gun measure came as something of a surprise because she said she generally supports expansion of where people can carry their weapons.
Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City, agreed to scale the bill back to apply only to public rights of way. The original would have allowed people with concealed weapons permits to carry them into buildings.
But the governor said this measure was still too badly flawed.
Brewer said the problems started with the lack of definition of where guns would - and would not - be allowed on campus, pointing out that nowhere in the legislation does it define exactly what is a "public right of way" where weapons could be carried.
"One proponent of the bill stated that a court will have to be the final arbiter," Brewer wrote in her veto message. "We don't need the courts to write our gun laws. That is the job of the Legislature."
Brewer also said while the measure was promoted as applying only to universities and community colleges, it also prohibited public-school governing boards from making their own rules. The governor said while federal prohibitions against guns on public school campuses still apply, this measure "confuses the issue."
Gould called her veto "very rude." He said the measure, approved twice by the Senate and once by the House, was apparently clear enough for legislators to understand.
He said Brewer, who did not discuss her action with him, was "deferring to education bureaucrats" who urged the governor to veto the bill.
"It means college and university students are still at risk because they have no way to defend themselves on a college and university campus," Gould said.
Brewer has a more far-reaching measure on her desk, also sponsored by Gould, to let people to bring their guns into all other public buildings without metal detectors and security guards at each entrance and a locker for gun owners to store their weapons.
"It's kind of looking bad," Gould said of the chances Brewer will sign that bill.
The "birther bill" would have made Arizona the only state to let a state official determine if a presidential candidate is qualified to run.
Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, said no federal official or agency is charged with determining if candidates are legally qualified. Burges said the fact political foes can file suit to challenge the person's candidacy is not sufficient.
Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, who sponsored the measure, said states have both a legal obligation and "inherent authority" to keep those who do not meet the legal qualifications to serve off the ballot.
Seel also argued he was not singling out presidential candidates for special treatment. He noted that another provision of his legislation required candidates for all offices to submit written proof of their qualifications at the time they file nominating papers.
But the requirements for a birth certificate or some other specific records to show birth in the United States were only for presidential candidates.