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Arkansas Legislature Debates Campus Carry Bill after Ohio State University Attack

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The ever-increasing Republican majority in Arkansas has a shot a passing some legislation that a toehold of Democrats managed to hold-off, or at least mitigate on occasion in the last session.

Member station KUAR reports, Arkansas State Representative Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) has plans to expand the scope of second amendment rights on college campuses.  It comes amid renewed discussion because of an incident Monday at Ohio State University.

While the incident was initially reported as an active shooter, it turned out the man was armed with a knife, injuring eight people.

In 2013, the Arkansas Legislature passed a law to allow faculty and staff with concealed carry permits at colleges and universities to be armed on campus.  However, each institution could opt-out of the law.  Since then, every institution of higher education has opted-out of the law, continuing the ban of firearms on campuses.

Collins told KUAR that after the events in Ohio, he wants to mandate that universities allow concealed carry.

He said shooters intentionally choose gun-free zones like college campuses.  In 2015, Collins attempted to mandate the campus carry law, but it was blocked by Democrats in the House Education Committee. 

State Representative Greg Leding (D-Fayettville) thinks adding more guns will complicate active shooter situations for law enforcement, and lead to more accidental shootings.

Democrats have 3 members in the 20 body seat of the House Education Committee.  The legislative session begins in January.

Listen to Jacob Kauffman’s interview above with both Collins and Leding about the issue.

Jacob Kauffman is a reporter and anchor for KUAR. He primarily covers the state legislature and politics beat while juggling anchoring Morning Edition Monday through Friday.
A Northeast Arkansas native from Wynne, I’ve been involved with radio for about 15 years. I got my Bachelor of Arts degree from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, where I also served as an award-winning News Director for 2 years at KSWH-LP.