No Guns Allowed On New Medical College Campus In Fort Smith

FORT SMITH (KFSM) --  Since Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 1249, local colleges are trying to figure out how the rules will affect them. This includes the new Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Smith.

According to the Director of Security at the medical college, faculty and students will not be allowed to carry guns on campus even if they have a concealed carry license.

HB 1249 allows anyone to conceal carry a gun with the proper training in various public areas. This includes state colleges, airports, polling places, athletic events, most state offices and the state Capitol.

One of the amendments to the bill requires stricter concealed carry training, and the new amendment also gives students and faculty the option to carry on campus.

However, this new law does not affect private institutions. These are the only entities allowed to opt out of the requirement, and this includes the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

At the new medical college, signs are up on the doors saying 'Carrying a handgun is prohibited on these premises.'

“It doesn’t affect our college since it’s a private college,” said Levi Risley, Chief of Police at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine. “But it does add a level of complexity because the college president can say you can carry a concealed weapon on campus or not,” Risley added.

According to Risley, if someone doesn't comply with the school’s gun policy, they could be cited or even arrested.

“If I came into contact with someone who is carrying a concealed weapon and they’re not authorized to carry that by the college, then they would be asked to leave," Risley said.

An orientation will be held before classes start in August, and the medical college will discuss their gun restrictions and safety for students and faculty.

“As a law enforcement officer, we want to make sure everyone is safe,” said Risley.

The law takes effect September 1, but the enhanced permits are not expected to be available until January. Arkansas State Police will develop the additional training, which will be given by concealed carry instructors around the state.