The House today passed House Bill 1249 71-22 . The bill, sponsored by Rep. Charlie Collins, would force public universities and colleges to allow staff members to carry concealed handguns. It’s on the Senate.
Some real-time notes on the proceedings below.
You can watch a livestream here. I’ll update with notes and highlights from the proceedings.
Collins, as is his wont, is listing harrowing tales of campus shootings. He says that one thing the legislature could do to help stop these massacres is force campuses to allow faculty and staff with concealed carry permits to pack heat. He gives an overview of what he calls the “profile of a mass killer” and says that a hypothetical killer might choose not to go on a rampage killing on Arkansas campuses if concealed carry is allowed on those campuses. He says that the power of his bill to potentially stop hypothetical rampage killings trumps the various concerns about the bill raised by parents, students, campus administrators, and campus law enforcement.
Collins points out that his bill will not allow students to carry. He says this was to alleviate parent concerns about drunk frat boys putting on cowboy hats and firing guns after downing a bunch of whiskey.
Rep. Aaron Pilkington, Republican of Clarksville, brags that a high school in their town allows teachers to carry guns. Collins notes that his bill does not impact high schools.
Rep. Greg Leding speaks against the bill. He says that the entire University of Arkansas at Fayetteville campus is in his district and the university community furiously opposes Collins bill. They believe it will make campuses less safe, not more. He notes that law enforcement argues that the bill would make their jobs “more difficult and more dangerous.”
Rep. Mickey Gates speaks for the bill. He tells a story about a mass shooting that happened in his district, getting choked up as he does.