Senate Bill 131, which passed in the state Senate yesterday on a bipartisan 24-9 vote, has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. This legislation, introduced by state Senator Bruce Holland (R-9), would close the loophole that allows media outlets to obtain and publish the names and zip codes of concealed handgun carry license (CHCL) holders.
In 2009, Arkansas amended its concealed handgun license law to remove the ability of media outlets to publish names AND addresses of license holders. SB 131 seeks to enact more thorough restrictions. Under this legislation, personal information on license holders would be accessible only as part of an official criminal investigation.
Please contact members of the House Judiciary Committee and urge them to support SB 131. Please remind them that this legislation would offer critical protection of the privacy of law-abiding gun owners, and that thirty states have already enacted protections for gun owners by classifying personal permit information contained in firearm permits as confidential.
Also, be sure to let members of the House Judiciary Committee know that the public release of any personal information regarding CHCL holders serves no public interest and only exposes law-abiding citizens to potential criminal acts.
As we have previously reported, a spokesman for Governor Mike Beebe (D) stated that the Governor opposes this measure. Therefore, also please contact Governor Beebe and urge him to reconsider his position by delivering the same message you deliver to House Judiciary Committee members.
In addition to promoting SB 131, please also contact members of the Arkansas House Education Committee, and urge them to support House Bill 1243, introduced by state Representative Charlie Collins (R-84). HB 1243 would allow staff and faculty of a public university, public college or community college, to carry a concealed handgun in the buildings of the institutions where they are employed if they have a valid CHCL. It would also remove the absolute prohibition of CHCL holders from carrying a concealed firearm into the buildings of a private university or college. Private universities and colleges would still be permitted to establish their own restrictions on CHCL holders.
HB 1243 has been scheduled to be heard in the House Education Committee next Tuesday, February 12; although a specific time has not yet been established.
Please call the House Education Committee members and urge them to support HB 1243. Remind them that this legislation is not unique, as 23 states that have enacted concealed carry laws do not prohibit the possession of firearms by license holders on college and university campuses. Also, let them know that this legislation will only affect faculty and staff of these institutions who have a valid CHCL, which means they have undergone a thorough background check and received training in the carrying and use of a concealed firearm.