Do alcohol, SEC football, and firearms sound like a good mix? Yeah, I didn’t think so either. However, Arkansas state legislature and Governor Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 1249 becoming Act 562 on March 22nd. This bill allows concealed carry of handguns on the public grounds of the University of Arkansas as well as inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium — their football field.
The only requirement needed to lawfully possess a firearm is to complete an 8-hour active-shooter training course administered by state law enforcement. The course would teach the ins and outs of on how to handle a handgun. There has been outspoken disapproval by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, where he urged lawmakers to come to their senses and to exempt “athletic events and sports venues” from the new concealed carry law. As a result, lawmakers have decided to amend the bill. In his statement Sankey said –
“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance.” Per AL.com.
To put it bluntly, Sankey basically said, “if you allow this, bad things will happen.” Some even believed this firearm situation could affect Arkansas up to the point of being kicked out of the SEC. Thankfully, an exemption passed by the Arkansas House and Senate and should be signed by Governor Hutchinson in the near future.
Arkansas state representative Charlie Collins is responsible for pushing House Bill 1249 through. According to Collins, he introduced the bill to allow students to protect themselves from school shooters. On a syndicated radio show called “Sports Talk with Bo Mattingly.” Collins said –
“I understand we’re breaking new ground in general with (the bill). I understand a subject like guns or snakes or spiders is very emotional, but I am optimistic we’ll be able to balance this so that we can move forward and not risk some kind of a conflict with our sports programmes that no one expects to do.”
I’m not sure guns and spiders are the same but what do I know?
The National Rifle Association (NRA) voiced their support for the expansion of the concealed handgun law. The new concealed carry law would take effect Sept. 1, but residents will probably have to wait for early next year to carry their firearms in the expanded locations. Arkansas has over 220,000 residents with concealed carry licenses for handguns. But do we really want people like this to have easy access to a gun?
Vols fans throwing down at the Music City Bowl#NEBvsTENN
— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) December 30, 2016