Arkansas Lawmakers Push Bills to Expand Gun Rights

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FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- Handguns would be allowed in places like courthouses and college classrooms if several bills at the Arkansas legislature become law this year.

In September 2011, police said a man named James Palmer went inside the Crawford County courthouse looking for Judge Gary Cottrell, and began shooting.

He shot one woman in the leg and injured others before being killed by police.

Now, there's a bill in the Arkansas legislature that would allow elected officials in courthouses who have concealed carry permits to have handguns at work.

Soon, it may be legal for guns to be in several other places, too -- like parking lots.

"We hope to be able to deter some of those crazy killers from coming and doing harm to our loved ones,” Republican State Representative Charlie Collins said Friday (March 13) during an interview.

Collins has authored a bill that would allow university professors to carry guns, but he said the movement goes beyond college campuses.

"Some of these other places I think it's more a balancing act of perhaps we've restricted, too severely, the rights of our concealed carry holders to carry their weapons after they've been approved by the state police," Collins said. "In general, I think the concealed carry laws enable somebody to either deter, if it's in a place they're at, or literally to protect themselves if in fact somebody does try to take advantage of them -- either with a weapon themselves, or in some other form or fashion."

Some we spoke with said they would support the expansion of where a concealed carry permit holder can take his or her gun.

“I personally believe that any citizen, any American citizen, who holds a license, and they've taken courses to ...hold a gun should be allowed to hold a gun,” Kayla Bull said.

Opponents of these bills say there is already enough law enforcement security in these places, and more guns could provoke dangerous situations.

Two of those bills passed the House this week and will have to go to the Senate before they end up on Governor Asa Hutchinson’s desk to be signed into law.

15 comments

  • Safety Concerns

    How does law enforcement handle situations where they may be multiple people with guns drawn trying to be heroes in the vicinity of a malicious gunman? How do police know which people have permits to be using their guns and acting as a vigilante in a stressful situation? It seems like it makes situations more dangerous and confusing for not only law enforcement, but the people trying to be heroes as well.

    • please don't scare me with a firearm

      The answer to that question is simple. When a law enforcement officer arrives on scene, put your firearm down, raise your hands, and make it clear you are no threat. It is also possible, most times, to voice your status. A criminal likely will not follow those procedure, and be easily identified. The assumption it makes it dangers for law enforcement and “heroes” reveals an unrealistic mindset. It is most dangerous for those who cannot protect themselves. The silly comment from a nutbag seems to come from a liberal who demands you think and act in a way they think proper, or the name-calling begins. The most dangerous and stupid sign in the world is “no firearms allowed.” It tells criminals where victims are most likely to be defenseless, and while a sign may stop law abiding citizens from carrying their firearm, it will not stop someone bent on killing. If you don’t want to carry a gun, don’t, but don’t presume to tell others they cannot because you disapprove.

    • dee

      it must not be much of a problem. i do not recall any incident making the news where a legally armed citizen and a crazed gunman were near each other showing weapons when the police arrived. a law abiding citizen knows how to act when the police arrive he (cooperates). perhaps you should talk to police or armed law abiding citizens to get the facts, instead of tv and movies ( they are not real, they are make believe).

      • Franko

        Unlike certain criminals who try to grab police officer’s guns or wrestle with them, I suspect anyone who took out a weapon to stop a crime would not confront the police with a weapon. There, I fixed it.

  • Horace

    Half of us can barely drive a car, but the NRA (at the gun manufacturers’ behest) wants absolutely everyone to pack heat. The more guns there are, the more bullets will be fired. I own two guns, but feel no need to carry one around with me.

  • Bam! That just happened

    It would be so nice if the anti-gunners would wear signs stating their opinions so we would know who NOT to defend in a life threatening situation with our guns. Also I think these people should NOT be allowed to call police for help as the police carry guns.

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