Arkansas Northeastern College issues policy on guns on campus

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – The Arkansas Northeastern College Board of Trustees has approved a firearms policy for the institution.

The policy approved by the board Wednesday allows only certified law enforcement officers to carry firearms on any of the ANC campuses, which includes locations in Blytheville, Burdette, Leachville, Osceola and Paragould.

The decision from ANC comes after several Arkansas higher education institutions have opted out of Act 226, legislation passed in March that allows faculty and staff with concealed carry permits to have concealed handguns on campus.

The two largest university systems in the state, University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, have opted out of the law.

The policy purposely did not address firearms that "employees, students, or guests may keep stored and secured in their personal vehicles," according to a statement from ANC.

Administrators said the omission is in consideration of the school's commuter student population that is more than 70 percent women, according to the college web site.

ANC nursing student Elizabeth Churchill does not agree with the decision by the board."If they have a concealed carry license they should be able to carry it because it's not going to do any good in the car if there's something going on in the classroom," she said.

"I think that's a good idea because they're taking too many rights away from us as it is. So I agree with the college that that's a good idea," said business student Lilly McGarrity.

Policy violators face criminal prosecution and disciplinary action by the college. In addition, "temporary exemption to the portions of this policy not controlled by state law may be granted by the college's chief safety officer for job related, educational or demonstration purposes."

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