Last week, House Bill 1249, the employee campus carry bill introduced by state Representative Charlie Collins, was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee. NRA and the bill sponsors worked to make important improvements to this legislation, but public college and university representatives were unwilling to accept our changes. Rather than making improvements to the bill, Judiciary Chairman Jeremy Hutchinson offered a hostile amendment that required at least 16 hours of additional active shooter training, as well as numerous added restrictions. This amendment was defeated in Committee, and the bill was reported out with a Do Pass recommendation, and NRA's support.
Unfortunately, the following day, Senator Hutchinson offered a similar hostile amendment on the Senate floor which was adopted. With the addition of excessive training mandates for employees, the patchwork of prohibited places and the significant criminal penalties they carry, NRA does not support HB 1249.
Subsequently, Senator Trent Garner, the Senate sponsor of HB 1249, introduced an amendment to create an "enhanced" permit system. This would allow those who acquire this new endorsement on their permit to carry on public college and university campuses. Unfortunately, the Garner amendment maintains the excessive 16 hour training requirement and a patchwork of prohibited places in addition to setting an arbitrary campus carry age limit of 25.
Without prior notice, the Garner amendment was adopted today in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and still contains the excessive training requirement and arbitrary campus carry age limit of 25.
As amended by the Senate Judiciary Committee, NRA does not support HB 1249.
Our goal is to make public college and university campuses safer by removing restrictions on law-abiding citizens carrying firearms on those campuses. Rest assured, we will be back every year until the legislature passes and governor signs a true campus carry bill that doesn’t impose excessive training requirements or place arbitrary age restrictions on who can protect themselves on college and university campuses in Arkansas. Whether they are employees, students, or visitors, those who have already gone through the process of obtaining an Arkansas Concealed Handgun Carry License (CHCL), which requires taking a course in the safe handling of firearms, should be trusted to act as safely and responsibly on public college and university campuses as they do throughout the rest of Arkansas.
Please contact your state Senator and Representative and urge them to pass an amendment to change HB 1249 into a true campus carry bill by removing the excessive training requirement, the patchwork of prohibited places, and allowing any permit holder to carry. Click the “Take Action” button below to contact your state legislators!