A house panel advanced a bill Tuesday allowing faculty and staff to bring guns on Arkansas college campuses.
House bill 1243 allows faculty and staff that already have carry and conceal permits to bring weapons into the classroom.
Public higher education chancellors, including from the University of Arkansas system, expressed opposition to the wording in the bill until the sponsor, Representative Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) amended the language to give public universities the ability to "opt-out."
Collins says the legislation addresses a recurring issue that isn't going away.
"In my view we have a significant problem in America, and the problem I'm talking about is the number of crazies and killers that select our college campuses to murder our loved ones," Collins says.
The guns on campus bill will likely go before the entire House of Representatives on Thursday.
An Arkansas legislator is amending a bill which would allow faculty and staff to carry firearms on college and university campuses in the state.
Rep. Charlie Collins, a republican from Fayetteville, says he is drafting the amendments to House Bill 1243 Monday.
Those changes include the following: a school's board of trustees would be able to hold an annual vote to opt out , meaning no guns would be allowed on campus. Another part of the amendment states school's board of trustees could opt just certain buildings out of the policy.
Rep. Collins is a co-author of HB 1243, which has sparked quite a bit of controversy.
He says the bill is designed to increase safety on school campuses, but several University of Arkansas students and faculty members spoke up in opposition to it at a meeting held Friday, February 8.
Rep. Collins will present HB 1243 to a House committee on Tuesday, February 12.