State Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, says college campuses in Arkansas would be safer if professors and staff carried handguns. “Crazies and killers, they understand where the gun-free zones are,” Collins said.
Collins introduced a bill last session to allow staff and professors with concealed carry permits to carry a handgun on campus. It failed last session, but Collins plans to reintroduce the bill during the next legislative session, which begins Jan. 14.
Collins says the bill will help protect Arkansans. “This is all about protecting our children protecting our spouses and protecting the people that are on college campuses,” he said.
John Diamond, university spokesman, said allowing others to have guns on campus isn’t a good idea, “They may overreact to a situation. They may misinterpret something that’s going on, and if they are armed with a deadly weapon it’s much more likely than not that they’re going to act in a way that compounds a problem rather than resolve it.”
University officials are concerned that if there is a gunfight, U of A staffers who are carrying handguns could be shot by law enforcement when they arrive, Diamond said.
Diamond questions what police would do when faced with difficult decisions. “They don’t know who the bad guy is and who the good guy is. They don’t know who is there trying to stop something from happening and who is perpetrating that situation.”
But Collins said he doesn’t believe it would be a challenge to discern who the bad guy is. “If a professor on a college campus pulled out a weapon and was pointing it at a crazy killer and the police came in and said, ‘We’ve got the situation under control,’ the professor is going to lay the gun down as soon as that situation is clear.”
Despite objections from the University of Arkansas, Collins said he believes the professor carry bill will make college campuses safer.