Professor-Carry Being Amended Allowing Colleges to Opt In or Out

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The professor-carry bill by Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, is being amended to allow the board of trustees of colleges and universities to decide in an annual vote whether they want to opt in or out, Collins said Monday (Feb. 11).

HB1243 is set for a hearing Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the House Education Committee.

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.

Sidney Burris, UA professor, who's a member of the newly-formed “Arkansans Against Guns on Campus,” said he welcomes the amendment but has a problem with it.

Burris 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.

Joe Youngblood, UA student who authored a conceal carry bill, said with he hopes the amendment means the university will take its students into consideration if the bill is approved.

"If they want to stand behind their marketing campaign as this being the You of A and not the Chancellorship or the Administration of Arkansas, then they should listen to what the students have to say," Youngblood said.

Youngblood said he plans to speak at the House Education Committee's hearing in Little Rock Tuesday.

Youngblood has two measures to be debated in the UA Graduate Building at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Associated Student Government will then vote and, if approved, it head to university administration leaders.

One of Youngblood's measures supports Representative Collins bill and his second proposal allows students, staff and professors to conceal carry.

Youngblood said people with conceal carry receive sufficient training.

"There's a live fire shooting portion that mimics shooting at self-defense just like the police go through that. This perceived lack of training is a myth," Youngblood said.

Burris disagrees and said conceal carry permits don't prepare people for a campus shooting.

"Most of that time is spent in the classroom, a couple of hours are spent on the shooting range and then you are allowed to carry a dangerous weapon and pull it out if you feel self-defense is called for," Burris said.