Legislation allowing public university and college employees to exercise their Second Amendment rights if they have a concealed carry license passed the House Judiciary Committee today.
Ironically, we can thank Democrats more than any other group for “Campus Carry” legislation passing out of committee.
The arguments for and against the legislation were basically the same as in previous years. The one difference was the ideological composition of the committee from previous years.
Late last year, the media was chattering about what a coup Democrats in the House had scored by stacking the Revenue and Tax Committee with a 11-9 majority of Democrats.
We predicted that this would merely lead to Republicans using their large majorities on other committees to pass through conservative legislation such as “Campus Carry.” That’s exactly what happened.
Republican Rep. Carol Dalby voted against the legislation. Republican Rep. Lanny Fite and House Speaker Jeremy Gillam didn’t vote. However, due to Republicans having a 16-4 majority on the committee, the legislation passed easily.
The full House will consider the legislation next. HB 1249’s sponsor, Rep. Charlie Collins, told The Arkansas Project says it will be heard “probably” on either Thursday or Friday.
The legislation was opposed by representatives from the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University. Its lone support from academia was Dr. Blake Robertson, President of Northwest Technical Institute, a small post-secondary technical school in Springdale. Robertson is a former deputy sheriff.
Robertson cited a lack of funding to pay for campus police, and long police response times to get to the school’s campus, as reasons he supported the legislation. To my knowledge, he’s the first president of any college, university, or technical school in the state to support this legislation.
So it’s good to know there’s still a small beacon of common sense located in parts of our higher education system in Arkansas — even if this light hasn’t spread to the state’s large four-year university systems yet.