The 2017 Arkansas legislature expanded the places at which concealed weapons may be taken to include everything from college campuses to bars to the state Capitol.

You must have a new concealed carry permit that indicates eight more hours of training. Get that and you can stroll onto any college campus in the state.

The Big MAC building across the street in which major committee meetings are held may not be so wide open.

The new permits won’t be issued until a procedure is developed and implemented by the State Police. That won’t occur until 2018. Meanwhile, guns are still nominally prohibited by law in state government buildings such as the Capitol.  But change is in the air and preparations are underway.


New security procedures discussed Wednesday by the Arkansas Legislative Council for Big MAC reflect some concern about unfettered access. A draft proposal included  provisions that:

* All who enter the building will have to pass through a metal detector.


* Documentation for the proper permit will be checked for those with weapons.

* Armed guards will be present at entrances.

* Additional security will be posted for “controversial” meetings.

* Security cameras will monitor access points


* Elevator access will require key cards.

Marty Garrity, director of the Bureau of Legislative Research, said the ideas were  presented for discussion Wednesday but no action was taken. The law doesn’t take effect until Sept. 1. At Wednesday’s meeting, she said, members indicated it best to wait on Big MAC rules to be sure they line up with policy for the Capitol, which will be under the control of the secretary of state.

CLARIFICATION: I should have emphasized that many of the security measures noted are already a matter of practice. As the markup I’ve attached notes, the major changes concern verification of authorization for weapons that are expected to begin entering the building.

 I’ve asked the secretary of state’s office for any draft they’ve come up with yet for Capitol security in light of the new law.

Writes a mother with a son in college in Arkansas who saw the draft:

If they have metal detectors, my son should have one on his college campus. If they have to show a CC permit at Capitol, they should at colleges.

Those legislators who spoke freely about how more guns on campus makes students safer: Do they have the same certainty about guns in their workplace?