Two largest public universities in Arkansas opt-out of new campus carry law
Trustees at the two largest public universities in Arkansas have voted to opt-out of a new state law which was designed to allow professors to carry concealed firearms on campus.
The votes, at Arkansas State University (ASU) and the University of Arkansas (UA), both took place earlier this month and exploit a loophole written into the new law that allows administrators at public schools to temporarily ban guns on a yearly basis.
Other public universities in Arkansas have also opted out of the law including the University of Central Arkansas, Henderson State University, and Arkansas Tech, according to higher education blog Diverse Education.
ASU Chairman Mike Gibson, in a statement, defended the board’s decision as well-measured and possibly temporary.
“I’m confident every member of the board has carefully considered this issue, and our chancellors conferred with the appropriate campus constituencies before recommending to opt out of the new state law,” he said, according to a local publication.
“The board will consider this issue on an annual basis moving forward, but I believe that opting out is in the best interests of our campuses at this time,” he added.
Mike Newbern, the assistant director of public relations for Students for Concealed Carry, a pro-campus carry advocacy group, criticized the decisions reached by the Arkansas schools.
“We just don't understand how someone trusted to teach in a university and has also gone through the additional rigor to obtain a concealed handgun carry license environment cannot be trusted with their self-defense,” he said.
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