LITTLE ROCK, AR - A state legislator pushing to allow faculty and staff with carry and conceal permits to bring weapons on campus changed his bill Monday giving universities more flexibility.
Representative Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) says he will give public universities the ability to opt-out of allowing guns on campus.
You won't see a gun-free sign at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock but that could change. House Bill 1243
would allow faculty and staff with carry conceal permits to carry in the classroom.
"I want to protect our children and loved ones on college campuses,” Collins says.
Collins believes armed university employees will deter the next campus shooter. But facing opposition, he amended his bill Monday to allow both private and public universities to opt-out if they don't want guns on campus.
"If every university opts out then we won't see a change on campus,” Collins says. “I don't expect that to be the case. I also believe over time, more and more and more will see this is a good idea."
The opt-out requires an annual vote by a university’s board of trustees, according to language in the amendment.Similar legislation failed in the House education committee in 2011
over concerns primarily from public institutions including the University of Arkansas system.
UALR students we spoke with on Monday say they could be okay with faculty and staff being armed
"If they already have a license then they should just have to register with the school honestly," UALR student Adam Clemons says.
The House education committee is expected to make up its mind Tuesday whether to bring weapons on campus.
UALR chancellor Dr. Joel Anderson was unavailable for comment Monday but is expected to testify on the bill when it is presented.