LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz issued a statement in opposition of a proposed bill that would require Arkansas public universities and colleges to allow faculty and staff to carry handguns if they have a concealed carry permit.
Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, filed House Bill 1249 on Monday (Jan. 23), which amends a former 2013 bill that allowed college and university boards to vote to opt out of allowing their faculty and staff to carry a firearm.
All colleges and universities in Arkansas voted to opt out.
If Collins’ new bill passes, colleges and universities will not have the option to opt out unless they are located on or within a half mile of a public hospital or presidential library. The institutions must allow faculty and staff members who have concealed carry licenses to carry handguns on university grounds.
Steinmetz issued the following statement on Tuesday (Jan. 24):
“The University of Arkansas agrees with the governor’s position that the current law allowing local boards of trustees to disallow the carrying of guns on campus is working and doesn’t need to be changed.
“Our own law enforcement officers do not believe that the campus would be safer if guns are permitted. We have serious concerns about increasing the number of armed individuals posing a significant threat, particularly in an active situation when officers must make immediate determinations about who is a threat.
“Also, though not as important as the safety of campus, a campus carry bill has the potential to negatively affect the recruitment and retention of students, faculty and staff.”