A House Committee is advancing a bill that would let state colleges and universities decide whether to let permitted faculty and staff carry concealed handguns on campus.
The House Education Committee passed Representative Charley Collins’ bill Tuesday on a voice vote. Collins, a Republican from Fayetteville, says his bill is a preventative solution.
“The problem I’m talking about is the number of crazies and killers that select our college campuses to murder our loved ones. And this is a recurring problem, it’s a frequent problem, it’s not going away,” Collins, who read from a list of shooting incidents on college campuses, said.
Both a college student and professor spoke for the bill. One person, a high school student spoke against it.
After the meeting, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Chancellor Joel Anderson said he and other chancellors in the state are against the bill.
“It’s a difference in judgment, and I understand that in the minds of some people, and people I respect, this would make for a safer campus. And it’s my judgment and it’s that of our law enforcement people on campus as well as other presidents and chancellors that it does not make a safer campus that in fact it tends to do the opposite,” Anderson said.
Collins amended his bill to let university boards of directors decide each year if they want to opt out of allowing concealed weapons on campus. He told reporters after the meeting that the ammendment helped the bill get an overwhelmingly positive vote out of the committee. He also said the committee's vote was encouraging for the House vote to come.
Anderson said that amendment is a positive step for the legislation.