Lawmakers, Students Meet on Campus Gun Proposal Today

A bill allowing guns on college campuses heats up at the state capitol. Tuesday, the legislation will be considered by the House Education Committee.

Also happening Tuesday, the University of Arkansas Student Government will tackle the controversial issue.

The proposal’s author is Fayetteville republican representative Charlie Collins. It would allow university staff with concealed carry handgun permits to carry their weapons on campus.

The proposal also states the staff-member must be over the age of 21 with proper training. Colleges are able to opt out if it becomes law. Each school can revisit the decision each year. They can also ban guns in some areas of campus.

The Student Government has drafted a few resolutions to the bill; one supporting guns on campus, another keeping campus a gun-free zone.

A newly-formed group, “Arkansans Against Guns On Campus” opposes the proposals.

“In an armed assault, if you are carrying a weapon yourself, you are four-and-a-half to five-and-a-half times more likely to sustain a serious or fatal wound than if you are not carrying at all,” UA Professor Sidney Burris said.

Students disagree.

“No scientific study, as per the National Academy of Sciences, shows that concealed carry causes any increase in violence in society. It doesn’t make campus more dangerous. These are hypothetical opinions,” Joe Youngblood, UA Student Government Senator said.

The students stance is only a symbolic measure. It will not have an impact on whether or not the bill becomes a law.

It takes at least 11 votes for the bill to survive the house education committee in Little Rock. If that happens, the House of Representatives will then vote.

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