On March 22 Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) signed campus carry legislation into law. On March 23 USA Today Sports suggested a boycott of NCAA events in Arkansas may be needed if students are going to be allowed to be armed for self-defense.
The USA Today Sports column begins:
A new gun rights measure signed yesterday could allow concealed weapons to be carried into Arkansas football and basketball games as early as 2018. Opposing teams should consider boycotting participating in these games should this become a reality in practice. Not due to any political motivation or stand against the law, but because there is a reasonable case to be made that this will put them in an unsafe position.
As the column continues, senior writer Kyle Koster says, “No matter one’s beliefs about the Second Amendment, the new measure will likely create a situation where one group of people are allowed to carry and others are not.”
He goes on to say the divide will be between those who have a permit to carry and those who do not; the former will be allowed to carry but the latter will not. What he misses is that this is exactly how the law is designed to work. Law-abiding citizens who chose to go through the training process and obtain an enhanced carry permit will be able to carry but individuals who do not go through the process–or cannot because of a criminal record–will not be allowed to carry.
But Koster does not look at the divide between law-abiding and criminal. Rather, he introduces a dichotomy–strained at best–where some athletes will go through the permitting process but others will not, thereby creating a divide between athletes. Additionally, Koster suggests athletes with permits will feel slighted if team rules require them to give up their guns in athletic facilities while fans are armed for self-defense.
It’s not reasonable to believe players who have a permit and complete the required training will be allowed to have weapons during games. At the very least, team rules will be put in place to assure this is the case. How are you going to ask athletes to surrender the rights afforded to fans.
Koster eventually reaches for old arguments and intimates that armed students–although law-abiding, trained, and permitted–may lose control of themselves at a sporting event, endangering others. He wrote:
The more pressing one is how fans, who can get unruly and irrational during games, will handle this new ability. Staunch proponents would argue this is a non-issue but they should concede that there will be a faction of fans and players who feel more unsafe than before.
Koster closes his column suggesting a boycott of NCAA sporting events in Arkansas may be the best way to respond to the law allowing students to be armed for self-defense.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.