By Kelly Hammond
On March 22, 2017, the Arkansas state house passed a bill sixty-six to twenty-five that will allow employees to bring their concealed handguns to state colleges, bars, government buildings, and even the state capital. This bill was originally only intended for those working on college campuses, but, after legislative disputes, it was expanded to other occupational buildings as well. Governor Asa Hutchinson and other supporters of this bill think this action will make make colleges and other locations less likely targets for shooters. After the signing, Governor Hutchinson stated “This bill, in my view, reflects the will of the General Assembly and is constitutional and will balance public safety and the Second Amendment.” While supporters argue this will increase safety precautions, others believe it will have the opposite effect, especially during sporting events. Representative Greg Leding states “People like to have a good time before the game, during the game, people get emotional and angry during the game…I think the idea of introducing loaded weapons into those situations is just ridiculous.”
To ease the public and take precautionary measures, Hutchinson has revealed his requirements for these handgun owners; they each must undergo up to eight hours of training as well as have a license to carry their concealed handgun. Opposition has arisen from many citizens and colleges because they believe they should be able to individually choose whether or not to allow guns on their campuses. In fact, every university in the state voted against it initially. The date when the law will be instated is still undetermined but will most likely be in place by this fall or early next year. Training requirements are still being designed by Arkansas State Police, and the State Senate is reviewing the law as well.