The sweeping gun legislation passed by the Arkansas legislature earlier this year became law on Friday, but don’t start packing heat to school just yet. The permits required for “enhanced carry” of firearms in sensitive areas such as college campuses aren’t yet available, and won’t be for some time.
Originally intended to cover colleges and universities only, House Bill 1249 grew in scope and ambition to include courthouses, bars, churches and the state Capitol, following heated public debate and intense lobbying by the National Rifle Association. It creates a new class of enhanced permit for concealed carry license holders who complete a separate mandatory training, the details of which will be determined by Arkansas State Police. The standards can’t require would-be permit holders to take more than eight hours of training.
The law mandates the state police to come up with its requirements within the next four months, the AP reports:
“We’re not cranking up the enhanced concealed carry license machine on Sept. 1. There’s got to be these checks and balances in terms of rules and procedures,” [state police] spokesman Bill Sadler said.
Though the standards will be determined by the state police, the training itself will be delivered through private handgun instructors. Arkansas Public Media’s Sarah Whites-Koditschek spoke to one such instructor, who said interest in the new class of permit is running high.
State Rep. Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), who sponsored the legislation that became the new enhanced carry law, said on Twitter that he expects permits to be available by spring 2018:
— Charlie Collins (@CollinsARK) August 31, 2017