Act 562 and you: Students react to concealed carry on campus

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 Earlier this month Florida suffered yet another tragedy when, while just showing up for a day of school, 17 people were shot and killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in the mass shooting heard around the world. 

Since the shooting, student survivors have come forward speaking out against gun violence and planning nationwide rallies. Some have suggested stricter gun laws. America is no stranger to guns 

Schools in America are no strangers to guns. But should those guns be allowed at school? Should they be allowed on a college campus? For Henderson, they soon will be. 

The Arkansas legislature passed Act 562 earlier this year, an act which “will allow individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry concealed handguns on college campuses if they have successfully completed an additional enhanced-certification training course of up to eight hours,” stated Tina Hall, executive director of marketing and communications. 

The training for this enhanced certification is still under development, though, so for right now, no one other than law enforcement officials with jurisdiction are allowed to carry weapons at Henderson. 

“We fully expect that these classes have and are occurring, and we continue to monitor developments,” stated Hall. 

Another requirement also includes being 21 years old or being at least 18 in addition to being an active member of either the military, National Guard or reserve, or an honorably discharged former member of the military. 

It’s worth noting that, first and foremost, an act like this will directly affect the students living and taking classes on this campus. So what do the students think? 

“I don’t think people should be allowed to conceal and carry – especially students,” said Regan Stanley, freshman, graphic design major. 

Agreeing with her is freshman elementary education major Bailey Morgan. 

“I just don’t think it’s a good idea, or necessary,” said Morgan.

It’s a complicated topic. What factors go in to their respective stances? 

For some, the recent shooting in Parkland has certainly increased awareness of how the issue affects them. 

“The parkland shooting has not changed my thoughts on this, but it’s increased my worry and cautiousness of gun control,” said Annemarie Diser, freshman, elementary education major. 

“I don’t really think it’s impacted me that much, because I didn’t support it anyways,” said Hannah Roberson, freshman, psychology major. “For me, it just like further confirms why guns on campus are a problem.” 

If something positive has come from any of the recent events, it’s showing that students are just as important to and capable of joining the conversation as adults are. 

There are students who agree and disagree with allowing guns on campus for many reasons. However, whether in support of Act 562 or not, what seems to stay consistent with every answer is that these are students who just want to feel safe when they go to school. And whether feeling safe means supporting conceal and carry or not is yet to be determined. 

“I am not ecstatic about the conceal and carry on campus,” said Diser, “but if there were a way to ensure a safe campus, which is why I picked to go here anyways, then I would be glad to understand.”

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Act 562 and you: Students react to concealed carry on campus