Steve Jones of Arkansas Carry, one of the noisiest pro-gun groups, informs me that for now the group isn’t going to push legislation to open public college classrooms to pistol-packers. Earlier, Jones had raised questions about college policies prohibiting student concealed weapon possession, but he apparently wasn’t fully informed on the issue. Many colleges have availed themselves of state law that allows property owners to ban concealed weapons on their property, students or otherwise.
Instead, Jones said, the legislative gun push will be for Denny Altes’ legislation to allow “open carry.” With passage, Wild West-style holstered heaters could then be found on the hips of anyone so inclined. Felons and the mentally incompetent would be excluded, Jones assures me. Property owners would be able to bar weapons from their premises, as they may now do for concealed weapons. But, in other states with open carry, the gun crowd has waged successful pressure campaigns against retailers, such as Starbucks, to intimidate them into allowing free entry to those afraid to venture into the world without a firearm.
Jones said his group will continue to pressure higher ed officials to allow students to stow guns in their parked cars. A student group still promises to push for more guns on campus and Jones said his group would still support such legislation if “we feel it is good for Arkansas.”
The bottom line with the gun crowd is that more guns are always good. I don’t happen to feel that way. But I do say this: If legislators think open carry is such a good idea, they should not be hypocrites. They should allow weapons in the House and Senate chambers. If this is good for Starbucks, it is good for the Capitol.
UPDATE: A Dallas Morning News story reports that reporters took gun safety classes so they could qualify for the express lane provided for Texas State Capitol entrance to holders of concealed weapon permits. Seems like cheating to me unless they are actually packing. Perhaps a minimum caliber should be required also.