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story.lead_photo.caption FILE PHOTO: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/STATON BREIDENTHAL 8/23/11 Todd Burns (left), R.J. Durham (middle) and Kaitlyn Ballard walk along a freshly stained sidewalk near Arkansas Hall in 2011 on the University of Central Arkansas campus in Conway. - Photo by Staton Breidenthal

Guns on Arkansas college campuses haven't caused any notable problems during the first semester they've been allowed, a variety of administrators from the state's largest universities said at a legislative hearing Thursday on campus safety.

Still, some campus law enforcement officials and lawmakers remain concerned about the pitfalls of allowing firearms at universities and inside dorm rooms.

The college semester now winding down is the first since state firearms instructors began offering courses for the new enhanced concealed-carry licenses. The permits -- created by Act 562 of 2017 -- allow guns to be toted at public colleges and other public places previously off limits.

"We have not seen an issue yet on campus -- I'm gonna knock on some wood here," Capt. Chris Bentley of the University of Central Arkansas Police Department told lawmakers on Thursday.

Officials from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Arkansas State University and a handful of other colleges from around the state echoed the same sentiment Thursday. All said town-hall style meetings and seminars on the new gun-carrying law have been well-attended by students and faculty members, adding that more information sessions will be held for incoming students in the fall.

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Police Chief Maxcie Thomas, however, told members of the Arkansas Legislative Council's Higher Education Subcommittee on Thursday that he still has qualms with the new law.

Thomas said he's concerned that a permitted gun carrier could "become an active shooter" if a situation upset him. Additionally, Thomas fears that police would have a hard time distinguishing between an active shooter and gun-carrying resident in an emergency situation.

"It'd be hard to tell a good person from a bad person," he said. "It's really challenging for us."

Conversely, Henderson State University Police Chief Johnny Campbell said licensed firearm carriers could be beneficial in a shooting situation because it could be two or three minutes before police can make it to the scene.

A subcommittee co-chairman, Rep. Greg Leding, D-Fayetteville, who opposed Arkansas' campus-carry law, acknowledged that no significant issues have arisen yet, but he noted that the licenses only became available in February. He expects the number of enhanced-permit holders on college campuses to increase in the fall.

He's been critical of a quirk in the rules that allows guns to be carried in dorm rooms but not stored. This means that guns in dorms must remain concealed within arm's reach of the licensee at all times. He pointed out that a gun-carrying student must take his handgun to shower or use the restroom in the middle of the night.

He plans to propose legislation to fix the issue next year, in the next regular session.

"My personal preference would be to just not allow guns in dorms at all, but I suspect the only fix that will be tolerable will be to allow [handgun] storage in dorms," he said Thursday.

Officials from the University of Arkansas at Monticello said some students have expressed concerns about sharing a dorm room with a student who can carry a gun, and administrators try to move those students to another room.

Spokesmen for ASU, UA, and UCA said they weren't aware of any such requests at their institutions.

Metro on 05/11/2018

Print Headline: No gun troubles yet, say colleges; Lawmakers hear mixed opinions

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  • RobertBolt
    May 11, 2018 at 11:03 a.m.

    Please, pro-gun experts, I can't help it if my question seems simple or stupid to you. If the answer is obvious to geniuses in the field, surely you can do us ignorant people a big favor and answer my question with a specific number: what percentage of shootings involving a shooter also involve firearms? You tell us shooters are involved 100% of the time. Are firearms involved anywhere nearly as often? It could give us uninformed, non-experts a sense on how much focus should go toward the shooter compared to the firearm. If 100% of shootings involve shooters without firearms, there is no need to focus on firearms at all, but if (crazy as it sounds) 100% of shootings also involve firearms, maybe we should focus equally on both. I know. That sounds nuts, but all I can do is brainstorm until I get your expert input to this important question.

  • GeneralMac
    May 11, 2018 at 11:06 a.m.

    Despite RBear favoring " show a need" to own a gun, I wonder if you favor " show a need" to own a car.

    Imagine how many fewer accidents there would be if all car owners had to " show a need".

    "insurance, licensing"...........?

    Many car owners have neither as it only is required if you leave your property and uses a public road.

  • GeneralMac
    May 11, 2018 at 11:09 a.m.

    please do an internet search of Sarah Cade.

    A young, liberal, bi-racial Minnesota female who owns a modified AR-15.

    She says............" my AR-15 is not an assault rifle until I assault someone with it "

  • hah406
    May 11, 2018 at 11:11 a.m.

    It is an urban myth that the CDC suppressed a study showing guns are used more often in self defense than in committing a crime. But consider this; outside of hunting, guns are used to commit suicide about five times more often than homicide. Suicide is the second leading killer of people aged 12 - 29. The presence of a gun in the home increases the likelihood of successfully completing a suicide attempt by ten fold. Those are facts. I have seen a lot of people be pro gun right up until I had to inform them their child had committed suicide with a gun.

  • RobertBolt
    May 11, 2018 at 11:13 a.m.

    GenMac, you present yourself as a deceased war hero from the Pacific theater and an expert on many things including guns. I think I've already established in my essay that cars and guns are exactly the same thing, but let's return to the central point. Can you please help those of us who are not gun experts by providing us with a direct, numerical answer to my question, or is it too hard for even all the gun experts and ghosts of dead generals to figure out?

  • GeneralMac
    May 11, 2018 at 11:27 a.m., I don't present myself as a deceased war hero.

    I have stated often that despite admiring him, I served as a Navy draftee during the Vietnam War era.

    I have just as must right to his name as he had and I can use my military nick name given during my 2 years as a Navy draftee.

  • Packman
    May 11, 2018 at 11:42 a.m.

    Hey Boltar - ..."what percentage of shootings involving a shooter also involve firearms?" Do "shootings" include archery equipment?
    Hey Boltar - What percentage of guns or crossbows fire themselves? Moron.
    Let's review some "common sense" gun laws from some of our favorite bedwetting libs:
    Ban all guns - (sjmays)
    Ban squirrel rifles - (PopSnob)
    Mandatory registration of air rifles, muskets, and BB guns (Don't want anyone shooting their eye out) - (hah)
    Repeal the 2A - (retired SCOTUS justice and everyone that works at CNN and MSNBC)
    Come at us, gun grabbers, give it your best shot (no pun intended).

  • GeneralMac
    May 11, 2018 at 11:46 a.m.

    also...........RBear.............." show a need"

    He favors Germany gun control where law enforcement can enter your home ANYTIME if you own a gun and register it.

    I imagine haha406 is " licking his chops" with glee after reading what registration can lead to.

  • RobertBolt
    May 11, 2018 at 11:56 a.m.

    Obviously, none of these gun experts know the answer to my fundamental question: what percentage of shootings involving a shooter also involve firearms? Obviously, they are overstating their expertise when they provide all their pro-gun "arguments," which would lead one to wonder if the answer to my question is a fact they are afraid to face. Surely not. How hypocritical that would be - to avoid a key question by seeking distraction in other topics. It would make them appear more interested in pushing a pro-gun agenda than in arriving at pro-life answers. To quote their leader, "Sad."

  • Dontsufferfools
    May 11, 2018 at 1:09 p.m.

    I like Murphy's argument. People so enraged by abortion and the loss of innocent life are downright blasé about loss of life to drunk or distracted drivers, gun proliferation, smoking and all kinds of risky activities and behavior. Ban abortion, guns, driving, alcohol, tobacco, maybe bacon, too.