The kneejerk Republican reaction to the attorney general’s legal opinion that state law doesn’t currently allow school districts to arm staff members (though they may bring local law enforcement officers on campus or hire private licensed security) has been to decry the opinion or urge swift passage of a state law to allow more guns in elementary, middle and high schools.
After all: What could go wrong?
We don’t yet know how popular this reflexive pro-gun Republican position might be.
But we do have one solid indication.
It is Rep. Charlie Collins’ legislation that gave Arkansas colleges and universities the option to allow staff members to carry concealed weapons on campus (trained as licensed security officers or not). Colleges have until Aug. 16 to opt out.
A Fayetteville reader who’s been keeping an unofficial tally of the votes says the voting is now virtually complete. Every single college and university in Arkansas — two-year and four-year; public and private — has been heard from except one. ALL have voted to continue to prohibit staff members from carrying guns on campus.
The lone campus not yet heard from on the unofficial list is Champion Baptist College in Hot Springs. It’s a Bible college with 100 or so students affiliated with a local church. The president was out of town Friday and so I couldn’t get an answer on whether they’ve taken action in response to the state law.
Unanimous rejection of more guns on college campuses has produced no outcry as far as I’ve been able to tell. Would it be drastically different in lower grades, where only a bare handful of districts seem interested?