FAYETTEVILLE, Ar. (KNWA) – With just weeks left of the legislative session, a Fayetteville legislator is showing support for gun-control measures.
One of three new firearm bills filed by Rep. Denise Garner, D-Fayetteville, would amend the controversial campus-carry law.
“It’s not a second amendment issue at all. It’s just that there are places that maybe should be gun free zones,“ Garner said. “My district sent me here to do this.“
One bill mandates universal background checks, another requires “restraint“ holsters for concealed carriers.
House Bill 1938 would amend the campus carry law, restoring the decision-making back to the university.
“My predecessor was the author of the bill that was pushed very quickly and not vetted. There are just a lot of unintended consequences,“ Garner said.
Current campus carry law, which was introduced by former State Representative Charlie Collins and signed into law in 2017, allows those with enhanced carry training to carry a concealed firearm on college campuses and government buildings.
Concealed carry holders must be at least 21 years old and complete an additional eight-hour training course.
It’s been a controversial law since the beginning.
Collins previously said it’s an extra layer of safety in public places, “I believe that what that’ll do is help deter some of these potential killers from trying to commit crimes here in Arkansas.“
Garner adds, “We didn’t do anything to 562 except pull the college campuses out. I think it’s up to each college campus.“
But with the news bills filed so late in the legislative session, Dr. Andrew Dowdle, Professor of Political Science for the University of Arkansas, said it could be more symbolic.
“The idea is that this is an important issue that she thinks is valuable and wants to end up fighting for this over the next years,“ said Dowdle.
Dowdle adding the bills will be difficult to pass the current general assembly, because of its conservative pro-second amendment majority.
“While it’s not impossible for a bill to get passed at that point and go to that committee processed, it’s relatively unlikely.“
As for Garner, she said she made a promise to her constituents and is sticking to it.