A bill that would have have allowed faculty and staff – but not students – to carry concealed on university and community college campuses in Arkansas was shot down in committee yesterday. The Arkansas House Education Committee considered the bill and voted 8-8 on it. 11 votes are required for a bill to advance for consideration by the full House.
The bill, HB 1479, was sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville). The bill was explicit in that only full-time faculty or staff would be allowed to carry concealed on campus if they held a CCW. Part-time staff or faculty would not have had that same right. Nothing in the bill applied to students and was explicit that firearms could not be stored in a dormitory or residence hall.
HB 1479 would have applied to all public universities, community colleges, and private universities in Arkansas. However, if the private college or university had an express policy against firearms and concealed carry on campus, then faculty or staff would have been precluded from carrying concealed.
According to the news story by WREG News Channel 3 in Memphis, officials from the University of Arkansas, Arkansas State, and Ouachita Technical College spoke against the bill.
Given all the hyperbole about concealed carry on campus legislation down in Texas, the approach taken by Rep. Collins seemed a reasonable first step. By excluding students it mitigated all the angst thrown up by the anti-rights movement of having drunk frat boys shooting up dorms and parties. Moreover, it only applied to full-time or those with nine-month contracts so you would have had only longer term employees allowed to carry concealed. Presumably, these people were fully vetted when hired. If not, then what the heck are they doing in the classroom in the first place?