(Little Rock, AR): Earlier today, Governor Asa Hutchinson signed HB 1249, legislation to allow the carrying of loaded, concealed weapons not only on public college campuses, but in many other public places statewide. The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus issued the following statement in connection with today’s bill signing.
STATEMENT FROM THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP GUNS OFF CAMPUS
“In 2013, a new law took effect that would allow faculty on Arkansas’ public and private colleges to carry loaded, concealed weapons with the caveat that each school’s Board of Trustees could opt out of the law on an annual basis. Since that law took effect, every single school has opted out of “faculty carry”. Obviously, the regard for safety on campus unanimously demonstrated by schools over the last few years could not stand in the eyes of the gun lobby and the elected officials whose pockets they line, thus we now have HB 1249.
The Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus condemns the passing of HB 1249 for a variety of reasons. What started out as a bill to allow only faculty to carry concealed weapons on campus, morphed into not only campus carry for everyone (faculty, staff, students, and visitors), but rather a “guns everywhere” bill, to include airports, houses of worship, bars, athletic events (Statewide), municipal parks, and General Assembly Meetings. With the broadness of the language in this bill, we anticipate interpretive disagreements that may lead to a long line of litigation, which would end up costly to the state.
Furthermore, Governor Hutchinson expressed reservations on the bill when it first only addressed faculty carry because it lacked additional training. Those reservations have gone by the wayside, as the Governor wholeheartedly expressed support for this all-inclusive bill, which does not specify the requirements of the additional training beyond the already minimal five hours of training and live fire training. Specifically, the bill’s language only stipulates that the enhanced training shall include up to eight additional hours, consist of a minimal fee, and does not need to be renewed. With this “additional training,” permit holders can carry on campus and other public areas once prohibited by law.
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus also expresses great concern regarding the language regarding campus carry in the bill because it does not exclude the following areas below, many of which are sensitive areas where concealed weapons have been prohibited on campuses in states that allow guns on campus (i.e., Colorado, Utah and Texas).
Daycare centers (Examples)
- Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
- A-State Childhood Services – Arkansas State University
- Adventure Club & Building Bridges – Northwest Arkansas Community College
Dual Enrollment (Statewide Services)
- Pulaski Technical College
- University of Arkansas, Little Rock
- East Arkansas Community College
- Nuclear Medicine Imaging Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- Biological and Agricultural Engineering Lab, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
- Nuclear Physics & Engineering Lab, Arkansas Tech University
Student Health & Wellness Centers
In conclusion, we believe that Arkansas’ campuses and public areas are quite safe. We also believe that the Governor and the Legislature turned a deaf ear to the thousands of stakeholders across the state that voiced their objections to this unnecessary and dangerous policy change, which will only decrease safety for all Arkansans.”
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ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN TO KEEP GUNS OFF CAMPUS
The Campaign to Keep Guns off Campus was founded in 2008 to urge colleges and universities to band together to oppose the gun lobby’s agenda to push loaded, concealed guns onto college campuses. To date, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and more than 420 colleges and universities in 42 states have joined the Campaign. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Julie Gavran, Western Director, [email protected]
Andy Pelosi, Executive Director, [email protected] (914-629-6726)