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Lawmakers unhappy with some aspects of a 2017 law to create "enhanced" concealed-carry permits are planning to use the ongoing fiscal session to adopt the changes they say are needed.

The permits will allow gun owners to take their weapons into many public places, including college campuses.

On one side of the debate, supporters of the "campus carry" law, Act 562 of 2017, say the law just needs to be tweaked; some gun instructors spoke out against being required to teach "enhanced" courses or else lose their instructors' licenses.

Meanwhile, a pair of Democrats have signaled their intent to add language that would prohibit concealed weapons in college dormitories, which they said was the original intent of Act 562.

To even consider nonappropriation bills during the fiscal session will require approval of two-thirds of both chambers of the Legislature.

The first pair of resolutions filed separately in the House and the Senate would allow consideration of a bill to let concealed carry instructors opt out of offering the "enhanced" permit course, which includes up to eight hours of additional training for permit holders. It also would replace the word "nominal" when describing the cost of the course with the word "reasonable."

Two Republicans -- Sen. Trent Garner of El Dorado and Rep. Bob Ballinger of Hindsville -- sponsored those resolutions.

On Twitter on Tuesday, Garner condemned the alternate proposal by two Democrats, Rep. Greg Leding of Fayetteville and Sen. Will Bond of Little Rock, to raise the issue of banning guns in dorm rooms.

"Looking at that proposal, it's a bad step back for Arkansas, it's a bad step back for Second Amendment rights and I think a majority of members do not support that," Garner said in an interview. "My legislation they may."

Bond said he would call for a vote on his resolution to bring up the issue of guns in dorms if Republicans attempted to bring up their own gun bills.

Republicans hold strong majorities of both the House and the Senate.

If no changes are made to the 2017 law, instructors who refuse to offer the new "enhanced" courses may be stripped of their teaching permits in about six months.

College students who obtain the enhanced carry permits may keep handguns in their dorm rooms as long as the weapons remain within arm's reach at all times, according to rules devised by the Arkansas State Police.

During the 2017 regular session, the bill that became the campus carry law was subject to much haranguing by critics, and it bounced back and forth between the Senate floor and the committee considering it.

Democrats complained that the law removed the ability of public universities -- which all opposed allowing guns on their campuses -- to set their own rules. Conservative Republicans, meanwhile, said requiring extra training went against the Second Amendment.

Garner said some Republicans remained skeptical about opening up the fiscal session, which is normally reserved for spending bills, to other issues. He said he was in talks with legislative leadership and the governor's office about raising the issue of guns during the session, which opened Monday.

A Section on 02/14/2018

Print Headline: Gun law crops up at fiscal session; 2 lawmakers want tweak; 2 others want ban in dorm rooms

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  • RobertBolt
    February 14, 2018 at 8:06 a.m.

    Great. Animal House with guns in their togas. Genius.

  • mrcharles
    February 14, 2018 at 9:11 a.m.

    Boltar why these there children ,many who cant even buy alcohol , legally that is, should not be prohibited from joining the culture of the USA. I would assume that if more guns is the answer then more guns is better. In fact if we could have a big box in the front door where all can , just like candy at Halloween, grab and pack . perhaps the deity will no longer set up "there" with arms crossed and allow people to die horribly, but quickly if everyone is a good shot. After all the gun will not kill you, as it will only happen if it is part of Adonai's plan.

    In fact there is still this silly restriction about bringing guns into jails [ after all there are criminals there] , courts- especially the SCOTUS [ after all there are criminals there] and into mental facilities [ after all there are republicans there {{many though are still allowed to ruin us free}} who think they are of the Christ family, that of Jesus Christ] .

    Just image a fraternity party, of a little wine for thou stomach's sake, and lots of hard stuff, perhaps they can be allowed to protect us from muslim hordes after they take to the streets [ see celebrations after a national championship] ?

    Would that the ancient goat herders when they were hallucinating writing their horror stories and committing genocide , had the use of guns for defense for peace, to quickly kill those women, pregnant women and children instead of hacking them to death with swords.

    After all gun nuts, with everyone having guns in the middle east, there is peace and calm only if you are deceased.

    Just think of all the John Belushi's in college. End times are upon us.

  • RobertBolt
    February 14, 2018 at 9:24 a.m.

    You inspire me, mrcharles, to think grand thoughts. If Adam had given Cain an Uzi and some uzo, Cain could have found the spirit to finish the job locally and then to go over the hill and prevent all Gaea's future problems with sapient homos.

  • hah406
    February 14, 2018 at 1:54 p.m.

    If Ballinger and Garner think all these guns on college campuses are a good thing, then they must be good everywhere. I demand my right to carry concealed weapons in the Capitol, including the gallery. I want to carry a gun inside the governor's mansion. Put your money where your mouth is, Mr. NRA. No reason to prohibit guns around these elected idiots.