Yesterday, the Arkansas Senate passed House Bill 1243 on a 31-4 bipartisan vote. The House approved this measure on a 70-11 vote on February 15. This bill will be sent to Governor Mike Beebe (D), who has indicated he will sign it into law.
As introduced by state Representative Charlie Collins (R-84), HB 1243 sought to 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 Concealed Handgun Carry License (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.
While this bill was amended in the House Education Committee to give public universities and colleges the same ability to establish restrictions as private institutions, it remains a pro-gun reform that the NRA supports. HB 1243 is not as broad as when it was introduced, but still represents a clear improvement over the current absolute prohibition of any carrying of concealed firearms by CHCL holders on university and college campuses.
Please contact Governor Beebe and thank him for indicating he will sign HB 1243 into law.