Arkansas votes to allow concealed carry on college campuses

Ross Houston
March 31, 2017

"Senate bill 724 allows college stadiums for games to submit a security plan to the Arkansas State Police and lay out here's what we're going to do to protect folks at the game", said Rep. Charlie Collins. The amendment to the campus carry bill still has to go to the house and back to governor Asa Hutchinson to be ratified.

That law, which allows people who have concealed-carry licenses and have up to eight hours of extra training to take their guns on public places, was signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week.

Passing the House was considered the biggest hurdle to gaining these exemptions.

"Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance", he said.

Specifically, the University of Arkansas can relax knowing their SEC membership isn't in jeopardy anymore now that Razorback stadium is a gun-free zone. More than 200,000 Arkansans have concealed carry weapons permits.

House Speaker Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia) made a rare move to speak in favor of SB724.

A new law signed on Wednesday will allow concealed handguns on the premises of state schools - including sporting events.

The Southeastern Conference said the new law creates concerns for the conference and its member institutions.

Earlier Thursday, commissioners of both the Southland Conference (UCA) and Sun Belt (Little Rock and Arkansas State) issued statements supporting the amendment.

Private universities, bars and churches would no longer have to post signs to prohibit concealed handguns under the amendment, but licensed carriers would not be charged with crimes for taking their guns onto the property. The NRA was putting pressure on the House not to pass the new bill. The Southeastern Conference has also backed the exemption.

The proposal advanced on a 71-20 vote Thursday.

Others said they were prepared to call out Republicans who voted in support of SB724.

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