Accidental Shooting Sparks Campus Gun Debate

The Feb 8 accidental shooting at the University of Arkansas has both sides of the gun debate weighing in on the hot button issue, after the student in question had a warrant issued for his arrest Tuesday.

Student Sen. Joe Youngblood, who supports concealed carry on campus, said the student shouldn’t have had a loaded weapon.

“The only guns that are on campus right now are the ones in the hands of people that are willing to break the law to bring them here, which are just the kind of people you don’t want bringing guns in the first place,” Youngblood said.

Lisa Corrigan, member of Arkansans Against Guns on Campus, said well-intentioned people make mistakes with guns, and allowing those on campus to conceal-carry would only make the problem worse.

“The first lesson is that the police did an excellent job responding to this when a gun was accidentally unloaded on campus and they are pursuing the right course of action to pursue the felony,” Corrigan said.

Corrigan said it’s important to leave these situations in the hands of law enforcement.

“Public safety should be the mayor concern here, and that’s why we leave guns to the police officers and campus safety officials because it’s their job and they are trained to handle them,” Corrigan said.

Youngblood said if guns are in the hands of licensed concealed carriers, they can help in dangerous situations. The accidental shooting did not involve a licensed concealed carrier, but Youngblood said police took six minutes to respond.

“Police do a great job, but they can’t be everywhere at once. They know that response times exist, especially on college campuses,” Youngblood said. “How can they drive a cruiser on college campuses?”

At the state level, the professor-carry bill heads to the Governor’s desk after passing both chambers of the state Legislature. Colleges and universities have the option to opt-out of the legislation.