JONESBORO, ARKANSAS — It’s no secret that the Arkansas State University system has fought tooth and nail against allowing concealed carry on campus. It all started when Arkansas legislators were interested in ditching a lot of superfluous ‘gun free zones’. Then they took a closer look at the university system and initially allowed public universities to develop a system for allowing concealed carry on campus.
Arkansas State University system — amongst others in the state — decided to sideline all of that. No actual implementation of any gun policies took place whereby students and faculty were free to enter campus with their concealed carry guns.
Finally, Arkansas legislators had enough. In November, legislators began pushing for a law that would require public universities and colleges to comply with concealed carry on campus. By the time the final bill made it to the governor’s desk, it included stipulations that would require concealed carriers to take an enhanced course offered through the state police prior to walking onto campus with a gun.
Arkansas State University balked at the bill as it became law but ultimately had to relent that this was the law of the land. As a public institution, it was beholden to follow the law. However, it looks like they have no intention of taking this lying down.
In a recent memorandum published by Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch, he admits that the new program offered by the state police hasn’t been fully fleshed out yet and until it has, there can be no enhanced training course to fulfill the requirement. The new law doesn’t go into effect until September, 2017. This would affect the upcoming school year for students and faculty.
“First, let me note that nothing has immediately changed regarding current ASU System gun policies. The effective date for this new law is Sept. 1, 2017. However, the Arkansas State Police has 120 days from that date to promulgate rules for enhanced certification training, so this date could be further delayed. The only individuals who will ultimately be allowed to carry a handgun on campus are those who (a) are age 21 or over and have a concealed carry license and (b) complete an additional training course of up to eight hours for advanced certification that will be developed and approved by the Arkansas State Police.”
Also, just because concealed carry may be coming to campus (eventually), that doesn’t mean unrestricted access by concealed carriers. There are, as President Welch notes, clear limitations as to where a person may go with a concealed firearm.
“Please know that under the new law, it will remain unlawful for anyone other than law enforcement or security personnel to possess a handgun or other weapon in campus residence halls and daycare facilities or at collegiate athletic events.”
This means if a student were to go to a college football game, he would have to leave his gun at home or in his car. If that student lived in a residence hall, he couldn’t keep his gun in his dorm room or visit a residence hall with his gun on him.
Those are some very strict limitations that could pose a hassle to quite a few law-abiding gun owners. Imagine you’re the parent of a child going to Arkansas State and you go to help your kid move his possessions into his college dorm room. If you’re caught carrying, you’re in violation of the law.
These are the things that end up hamstringing otherwise law-abiding citizens. That’s why we’re mentioning them here.
Know the law. Carry everywhere you legally can.