State Representatives Discuss Proposed Gun Bills

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- New bills have been introduced by state lawmakers that could make changes to the campus carry law that was passed last year, changes that would affect college campuses such as the University of Arkansas.

Arkansas State Representative Charlie Collins (R) was one of the main authors of the campus carry law and said shootings like the one in Florida are a continuation of events that have been going on for years.

“This issue of school shootings is what prompted me to begin fighting for this law in my first legislative session in 2011," Collins said.

One  proposed measure is known as the Ballinger Bill.  It would take away the requirement that concealed carry instructors would also have to be trained in enhanced carry.

An enhanced carry permit is what a concealed carry permit holder needs in order to carry on college campuses.

But, Collins says he added that requirement for a reason.

“That’s in the bill to make sure that people across the state of Arkansas, rural Arkansas, small towns in Arkansas would have access to be able to get that enhanced carry permit," Collins said.

Arkansas State Representative Greg Leding (D) said he has heard that there are concealed carry instructors out there though that do not agree with the requirement.

“Right now it's mandatory and they also have to get the training themselves and a lot of them don’t think it's worth it," Leding said. "So some of them have indicated that they would just close up shop, which nobody wants.”

Another issue Leding said is that he has seen concerns regarding storage of a weapon in dorm rooms.

He said the law requires an enhanced carry permit holder to  have their gun on them at all times.

Fro example,  a student would have to take their gun with them to the bathroom if they got up early in the morning.

Leding has also introduced a bill he said would solve this problem.

“The legislation Senator Will Bond and I introduced would get guns out of dorm rooms for now," Leding said. "You could still take a gun into a dorm lobby or if the dorm had a dining hall you could take it in there, which is not ideal but at least it would fix the storage issue.”

Collins is against this bill though saying he does not want to roll back on the places where someone with the right permit could carry.

“If he would like to introduce a bill that would allow storage in a dorm room, I think that we could get a lot of consensus to solve the problem that he has described with legislation like that," Collins said.

The Arkansas legislature is currently in a fiscal session and both Representatives said they do not expect changes to any laws to happen during this time.

Collins said if there were going to be changes to the campus carry law, it would not be discussed until 2019.

Even with the recent Florida shooting, Leding doubted it would affect Arkansas lawmaking.

He said there are too many lawmakers that think if they suggest a solution, they would appear to be anti-gun.

“And that is ridiculous," Leding said. "I am not in any way anti-gun. I grew up around them, there's nothing wrong with people who go hunt or enjoy guns for sport. But there is some strong bipartisan support for some common sense solutions that don’t involve arming art history teachers.”