College Concealed Carry Law Passes House Committee

by Steve Brawner ([email protected]) 107 views 

A bill that would allow trained and licensed staff and faculty to carry concealed handguns on public and private college campuses unanimously passed the House Education Committee today.

HB 1243 as amended by its sponsor, Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), would allow public and private campuses to choose whether or not they remain gun-free zones.

Collins told committee members that he had worded the bill to allay the concerns expressed to him about the bill. College students would not be allowed to have firearms on campus nor possess guns in dorms.

“One of the things I did with 1243 is ensure that there is no way that this bill would allow weapons to get in the hands of students any more than already exists,” he said.

Collins said HB1243 is needed as a deterrent because the law allows Arkansans to carry concealed weapons in many places but not on college campuses. That leads what he called “killers and crazies” to target the campuses as gun-free zones.

The bill passed before a committee room packed shoulder to shoulder with onlookers. Only one committee member, Rep. Charles Armstrong (D-Little Rock), even asked a question of Collins, and he preceded it by expressing his support of the measure. When the bill passed, the room mostly cleared.

Afterwards, Collins said he was pleased with the bill’s easy passage but did expect opposition moving forward. “There’s been lots of discussion pro and con. I’m not expecting a 100-0 vote in the House, if that’s what you’re saying,” he said.

UALR Chancellor Dr. Joel Anderson did not speak against the bill during the committee meeting but did express his opposition while speaking to reporters after the vote, saying, “If you have more guns on campus, you have a more complicated law enforcement and safety situation.”