The Voice: Collins proposes bill to allow guns on campus

Introduced on Jan. 15. by State Rep. Charlie Collins (R), Arkansas House Bill 1077 would allow faculty and staff to carry guns on campus, so long as they have a concealed carry license.

If this bill is passed, universities will not have the option to opt out of it and choose not to allow weapons on campus, which the law allows now.

Passing this bill would, naturally, bring understandable concerns for parents, students and faculty members opposed to the bill.

Carrying guns at a university does not seem necessary, considering how UCA has a police station within its own community.

Knowing that faculty and staff are potentially wielding guns in the classroom would create a foreign environment for students, one that is not necessarily welcoming or comfortable.

It isn’t as if UCA doesn’t have any means of protections for university members; the UCAPD patrols the surrounding areas of campus 24/7.

If faculty and staff were allowed to carry guns on campus, it would be possible that there would be an increase in violence or at least a higher chance for it.

Having guns in classrooms leaves room for these guns to be stolen and used.

If guns are to be allowed on campus, UCA would need to have strict guidelines in place for those who choose to carry them.

It is a scary thought to be carrying a gun and have it stolen and misused. Who would take responsibility for a situation like this?

The individual who stole the gun, the one who owned it or UCA?

While UCAPD officers carry weapons, it is well mandated because this is part of their job.

In a classroom, there would be no one to ensure gun safety.

It isn’t likely that someone would walk up to a police officer and try to take his weapon because they know other officers would quickly arrive on the scene.

This isn’t so with typical citizens carrying weapons.

Police officers receive plenty of training in order to carry their weapons with them while on duty.

They learn how to respond to threatening situations, how to deal with criminals and so forth.

To receive a concealed carry license, you fill out an application, get a background check and take a firearms safety class.

It is a fairly simple process.

The right to carry guns is granted, however, it is important to keep in mind that at organized institutions, such as UCA, there is not a high-threat level.

UCAPD already patrols campus with the necessary equipment to protect us in any given situation.

But if faculty and staff are carrying guns on campus for safety, then why shouldn’t students be able to as well?

As students, we spend much of our time on campus, not to mention that there are students who live on-campus.

Living among other students you don’t know can be scary and considering most students are old enough to obtain a concealed weapons license, why shouldn’t they be able to use it in their own homes?

Plenty of arguments will likely rise from passing this bill and while some are valid, they are not necessary. We can avoid these problems by not passing the bill.

As part of the UCA community, we are lucky to have a police force that works to protect us everyday.

Nakita Higgins: International Representative

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