|Updated: 3/04/2011 6:49 am
||Published: 3/03/2011 5:09 pm
LITTLE ROCK, AR - A bill to allow guns on college campuses fails in a House committee but the bill sponsor says there is still a chance for him to bring the bill back. It would allow guns on public universities like UALR in Little Rock.
Arkansas college campuses know too well about gun violence. Two UCA students shot to death standing outside their dorm. And a UALR student also shot on campus, both incidents in 2008.
"Do we want to take a step to help protect our children and others?
House representative Charlie Collins cited those incidents and others as reasons to support a bill allowing faculty and staff to carry guns on campus.
"I wouldn't feel safe."
UALR students today say they had mixed reactions on the idea.
"I wouldn’t feel so much with students, but faculty I think it would be ok," UALR student Brittany Ullrich says.
State Sen Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow) says the bill reaffirms 2nd amendment rights.
"The logic that keeping someone from protecting themselves that has a license to do so from the Arkansas State Police is completely invalid," Rapert says.
But questions persisted for members of the education committee at the capitol. Representative Bobby Pierce (D-Sheridan) openly struggled with what passing the bill could lead to.
"Is this a race, an arms race to see who can out do the next person and the next campus or the next schools,” Pierce says.
Bobby Ballard of Ouachita Technical College one of three from Arkansas colleges and universities that spoke against the bill.
"We're in south Arkansas and that's kind of redneck country and a lot of people have guns and the fewer of them on campus I think the safer we'll all be," Ballard says.
Needing eleven yes votes, the guns on campus bill got only eight. And that's ok with UALR student Dierre Brown.
"You could have a crazy staff member having a bad day or maybe they got fired that day, you never know," Brown says.