LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas State University System opposes a bill that would allow faculty and staff of public colleges and universities to carry handguns on campus, the system’s president said Friday.
In a written statement, Chuck Welch said the ASU System agrees with Gov. Asa Hutchinson that “decisions regarding guns on campus should be made at the local level.”
Under a 2013 law, faculty and staff of public colleges and universities in Arkansas are allowed to carry concealed handguns if they have concealed-carry permits, but institutions can opt out of the law if their governing bodies choose to. Every institution covered by the law has chosen to opt out.
Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, who sponsored the 2013 law, has filed a new bill, House Bill 1249, that would eliminate the law’s opt-out provision.
Welch said in his statement, “We have had two incidents on our Jonesboro campus within the past two years that ended peacefully because of the outstanding work and restraint of trained law enforcement officers. We prefer that only our licensed law enforcement officers carry firearms on the ASU System campuses, and that all similar decisions should be made at the local level.”
Collins has said his bill would increase safety on college campuses.