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State representative hints at new gun bill

Submitted by Jack A. Webb on January 25, 2017 – 12:00 pmNo Comment

Arkansas gun laws on college campuses may not be a common conversation starter for most people but it is still a hot topic that faculty, staff, and students across the state should be aware of. The current law on the books, Act 226, passed by the Arkansas Legislature allows for faculty at Arkansas colleges and universities to have concealed weapons on their person while on campus.

Right now there is an annual opt-out option, allowing guns to be prohibited on campus. All colleges in the state have exercised their “opt-out” right since the law was passed in 2013.

More recently the idea of changing this law has been tossed around. In December 2016, state Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) said he had intentions of filing a bill during the 91st General Assembly of the Arkansas State Legislature that will take away the opt-out option and allow faculty to carry a weapon on campus.

Some faculty members at UALR campus are concerned about this law being passed. They worry that the safety of the students could be tested.

One faculty member I spoke with is worried about this law because of the easy process it takes to obtain a concealed carry permit. The test is not hard to pass and you have to hit a target that is only 20 yards ahead of you. If legislation does pass this law they would like to see higher and more improved standards to obtain a permit.

A psychology student stressed her concerns about the law possibly being passed. She said that she is worried. With the past couple years being full of active shooters on college campuses she cannot help but wonder if this is actually taking a step in the right direction. She also wonders if this is just giving people more access to guns on campus.

The next month or two ahead will be something to keep a close eye on. A lot of people will be looking towards seeing what the provisions will be for this new law if legislation passes the law. Will there be stricter requirements to obtain a carry permit and will there be any specific training for having a gun on campus? It will be a waiting game for everyone.

It is possible that the law will be filed in the beginning of the year for the legislative session.

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