If it reaches his desk, Gov. Mike Beebe probably will sign a bill allowing college faculty and staff members to carry concealed handguns on campus, his spokesman, Matt DeCample, said Friday (Feb. 15)
House Bill 1243 by Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, was approved in the House Friday on a 70-11 vote, and now heads to the state Senate for consideration. Nineteen House members did not vote.
Under the measure, dubbed the professor-carry bill, faculty and staff members who have a concealed-carry permit would be allowed to take a concealed handgun onto campus.
The bill allows the board of trustees of colleges and universities to decide in an annual vote whether they want to opt out.
Collins also said the amended version would allow university and college boards to permit professors and staff members to carry concealed handguns in some areas of campus but not others.
(Collins, left, and House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, are seen in a photograph taken recently in the 5NEWS newsroom in Fayetteville.)
Sidney Burris, a University of Arkansas professor and member of the newly-formed “Arkansans Against Guns on Campus,” said he prefers an opt-in amendment, not an opt-out.
“The default setting that we like is that conceal carry is prohibited and that there is only a special option to allow it,” Burris said.