Arkansas Senate Passes Concealed Carry Stadium Exemptions, Governor To Sign

Mar 31, 2017

The floor of the Arkansas Senate.

The Arkansas Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that allows for the prohibition of guns at collegiate sporting events, UAMS, the Arkansas State Hospital and public daycare facilities. The vote was 23-7. The bill was delivered to Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has said he would sign it. The bill had already passed out of the House of Representatives.

The bill, sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe), addressed discrepancies in a recently signed law that greatly expands where concealed handguns can be carried in the state.

An impassioned debate preceded the vote. Republican Sen. Trent Garner of El Dorado, speaking against the bill, broadened the discussion to one about gun rights.

“The Second Amendment is a fundamental civil right, enumerated both in our state and in our federal constitution. It is our God-given right,” Garner said, “given to us by our existence on earth and by our creator.”

Democratic Sen. Stephanie Flowers of Pine Bluff spoke for the bill. She disputed Garner’s gun rights philosophy.

“Where I’m from, the God I serve does not tell me that I have the fundamental right to carry a gun,” Flowers said.

In order to prohibit concealed firearms at sporting events, SB724 would require the collegiate institutions to submit security plans for approval by the Arkansas State Police.