Gov. Hutchinson signs bill allowing guns on campus

Gov. Hutchinson signs bill allowing guns on campus
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Source: Arkansas Governor's Office)
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (Source: Arkansas Governor's Office)

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Arkansas' governor says he has signed legislation expanding the locations where concealed handguns are allowed in the state to include colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday he signed the measure, which allows someone to carry concealed guns at the new locations if they undergo up to eight hours of active-shooter training.
The measure originally was intended to only allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns at college campuses, but it expanded as it hit roadblocks in the Legislature.
The law allows concealed guns at private establishments like bars, restaurants and places of worship - unless there are weapons prohibitions posted at the facilities. Concealed handguns are still banned at K-12 schools, courtrooms and prisons.

Locally, views were mixed on the issue.

"I guess uneasy - I feel like there's going to definitely be a lot of opposition on campus," an A-State student said.

"To me- it's not a bad thing - I mean I've been talking to people about getting my own gun myself so to me it's just like - hey now I can go get it now," another A-State student, who wished not to be named, said.

Officials at Black River Technical College also commented on the bill signing.

"Campus security is BRTC's first priority and we are grateful the bill supports eight hours of training," BRTC President Dr. Eric Turner said.

Lt. Tony Saylors, an officer at BRTC, said while he supports the bill's approach in requiring more training, he said he believes the eight hours required is not enough education for someone with a concealed carry permit on a college campus.

Also, Saylors told Region 8 News that he believes the bill went too far and should have limited concealed carry to staff and faculty.

"Right now- that we know of- there are two guns on this campus. You know- after that day- there may be upwards of 100 guns when you add that into the factor- something could happen- I hope it doesn't ever anywhere," Saylors said.

The law takes effect Sept. 1.

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