Concealing Concern

Story by Ashley Smith, Opinions Editor Graphic Courtesy of Wes Bausmith and MCT Campus

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 Last year, Arkansas lawmakers passed a concealed carry law that allowed guns to be authorized on campus. They agreed that by the time this law went into effect (Jan. 2018) that there would be specific rules that went along with the law. Though the law passed with all state colleges against it, now the state is struggling to figure out what to do next. 

Lawmakers and state police have failed to come to an agreement on these specific rules, leading to a gray area as the law has already gone into effect. Proposed rules written by state police included 8 hours of additional training and for the classes to be offered everywhere there was already a concealed carry class. 

Their enhanced license after taking the class will not have to be renewed. The blurred lines give supporters of the law a reason to be frustrated with the process, and give non-supporters a sigh of relief as people are not quite sure what is allowed as of this year. 

Confusion could lead people to break the law unknowingly, or knowingly but just taking advantage of rules that are not in black and white. Gun rights activists attending the legislative sessions claim the law does not give them as many rights as they wanted, as college administrators and police officials opposed the law. 

According to what was passed, licensed gun owners with training can bring their firearms into bars, onto college campuses, and public buildings that were not allowed before. However, the law was passed in mind that licensed gun owners would have more detailed training before being allowed to do so. This detailed training is the gray area our state officials have encountered, and what citizens are waiting to hear about. 

“I don’t like gray areas,” Jared Morrow, senior recreation administration and sports management major, said. “I feel people should follow the old law if the new one has uncertainty.” 

Morrow agrees with the law, but thinks intensive training and full circle knowledge should be required before a licensed gun owner carries their weapon to a previously forbidden place. 

“Before I ever got my concealed license, my grandpa made certain that I knew everything about what I was carrying and what it was capable of,” Morrow said. “It shouldn’t just be one day in class and you are able to bring it to campus the next.” 

Currently, if a person were to apply for a concealed carry license, the old law is what they will read. A revised version is not mentioned in the application or law. People probably can’t apply for the enhanced license that was promised for this year, though this is not clear yet. 

“It’s a bad idea because there’s a chance it could be useful, but it’s more likely something will go wrong,” Marissa DeFoor, alumna, said. “It’s just not worth the risk.” 

Vague laws puts pressure on lawmakers and anxious carriers await to see what steps they have to take next. For a full rundown on what the school is currently allowing, visit http://www.hsu. edu/GeneralCounsel/CampusCarryFAQ.html.