Arkansas Lawmakers Propose Changes To Campus-Carry Law

ARKANSAS (KFSM) -- The Arkansas legislature has been in session for less than a week, and a few bills have already been introduced concerning the state's campus-carry law.

Monday (Feb. 12) marked the first day lawmakers have convened since the measure became law Sept. 1. It also marked the first day of the fiscal session for the 91st General Assembly.

The 30-day fiscal session often consists of the crafting and passage of the state's budget.

Bob Ballinger, a Republican state representative, introduced HR1006 Monday (Feb. 12), which would strike language from the campus-carry law requiring all concealed instructors to also teach enhanced carry classes.

The class is required for concealed carry holders who want to carry in public buildings and locations, like the University of Arkansas campus or the State Capital.

Ballinger said instructors should have the option.

"The Concealed Carry Instructors only have six months that they can keep their permit, without renewing and getting their permit to teach the Enhanced Carry," Ballinger said.

Greg Leding, a Democratic state representative in Fayetteville said if changes are going to be made, he has a few ideas of his own.

"I think the fiscal session should be limited to budget items, but if we are going to crack this thing open to mop up some of the mess made by Act 562, I think the dorm issue is one we absolutely must address," Leding said.

Leding said language in ACT 562 allows a student to possess a gun in a university dorm, but those guns cannot be stored there. The wording of the act therefore requires that owners be near their firearm at all times, like when showering or using the restroom.

As a result, Leding proposed HR1012, which would prohibit carrying or possessing a gun inside a dorm room in a university or college dormitory or residence hall.

University of Arkansas junior DJ Murray said he agreed with the move.

"It makes me a little bit nervous, because I know there's alcohol on campus," said Murray. "Alcohol and guns are never a good idea."

UA junior Seth Bland said guns in campus housing should be left to security or police.

"They're young, we're dumb, and I think it's just kind of not the place for them," said Bland. "Only officials should have them."

According to CBS affiliate KTHV, because both bills are considered "non-appropriations", they don't have to be heard in the fiscal session.

Multiple “non-appropriations” bills have been filed. There’s a chance they could all, some, or none be held for a special session or legislative session.