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Arkansas Expands Gun-Carry Rights in Public Establishments

Image: Arkansas Expands Gun-Carry Rights in Public Establishments
(AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 09:53 AM

Arkansas expanded gun-carry rights on Wednesday when Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that to allow people to take firearms onto public college campus and into other public establishments if they get eight hours of firearms training.

The law, which will take effect Sept. 1, will require the Arkansas State Police to develop rules and design a firearms training program for law within 120 days, reported the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Hutchinson called the law "compromise" legislation that was consistent with his view "of how firearms should be handled in sensitive areas."

He was an undersecretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security when Congress expanded gun access on airplanes to allow flight-deck officers to be armed after 9/11.

"We had the training requirements in place, and it has enhanced security of airplanes."

The National Rifle Association issued a statement Wednesday applauding the legislation.

"Only criminals can find safety in gun-free zones," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. "By allowing enhanced permit holders to carry in more places, Gov. Hutchinson has made Arkansas a safer place to live."

"On behalf of the NRA's five million members, we thank Gov. Hutchinson, Rep. (Charlie) Collins, as well as leaders in the House and Senate for their efforts to expand the recognition of the constitutionally protected right to self-defense for law abiding Arkansans."

The Associated Press said the original bill intended to only allow faculty and staff on college campuses to carry concealed handguns, but the bill expanded the pool as it was questioned in the legislature.

The bill was opposed by university officials, who said the schools should have the right to determine whether to allow guns on campus, noted The AP.

"While we have expressed concerns regarding the bill, we recognize the general assembly has spoken, and we will begin preparations to comply with the law when it goes into effect this fall," Bill Smith, a spokesman for Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, told the Democrat-Gazette.

The Arkansas chapter of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, condemned Hutchinson for signing the bill.

"I've learned that our state legislators – and even our governor – listen to the gun lobby over their constituents and the people who will be directly affected by this legislation," said Austin Bailey. "That's something we won't soon forget. This legislation will make everyday life in Arkansas more dangerous."

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Arkansas expanded gun-carry rights on Wednesday when Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that to allow people to take firearms onto public college campus and into other public establishments if they get eight hours of firearms training.
arkansas, expands, gun-carry, rights
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2017-53-23
Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 09:53 AM
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