Arkansas Republican Pushing Amendment that Guts New Campus Carry Law

campus carry
AP/The Tulsa World/James Gibbard

Arkansas state Representative Bob Ballinger (R-Berryville) is pushing an amendment to the recently passed campus carry law that could gut the obligation to allow campus carry in many on-campus activities and venues.

Campus Carry legislation was signed into law by Governor Asa Hutchison (R) on March 22. NRA-ILA reported that campus carry legislation creates an enhanced carry permit for persons 25-years old and over, allowing them to carry guns for self-defense on college and university campuses, “K-12 schools,” “any church or other place of worship,” “inside the passenger terminal of any airport,” “any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, and the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration,” “any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly,” and “any state office,” and other places previously listed as “gun-free zones.”

Ballinger is now working to reverse much of this by giving “private entities, like churches, bars and private colleges, another way of opting out of concealed carry.” His bill also puts at risk the ability of law-abiding citizens to be armed at athletic events.

According to Arkansas Matters, Ballinger’s Act 562 allows “allows private institutions to ban concealed carry if they post clear signage. If holders violate that, they would face a criminal charge.” The Senate version of the bill–SB 724–goes even further by saying “private entities” can ban concealed carry without even posting a sign. Instead of signage, SB 724 says private entities “can ban holders one-on-one by giving them a warning instead of a criminal charge.”

SB 724 is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe).

Ohio passed campus carry legislation with various opt-outs included and as a result, nearly every major college and university in the state rejected law-abiding rights to keep and bear arms for self-defense. The NRA-ILA warns that the language in Ballinger’s amendment portends similar problems for law-abiding Arkansans:

[Ballinger’s amendment] creates additional problems for law-abiding gun owners in Arkansas by allowing any “collegiate athletic event,” to simply designate “firearm-sensitive areas” to prohibit carry.   This language is so broad, that it may encompass an entire campus and creates a trap to ensnare law-abiding gun owners, who are simply trying to provide for their own personal safety.

The House could vote on Ballinger’s amendment as early as Wednesday.

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


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