The Arkansas Senate voted in favor of amendment No. 7 to House Bill 1249 Thursday morning, broadening the types of places in which those with concealed carry licenses and firearms can go.
HB 1249 was first introduced by House Rep. Charlie Collins (R), and in its original form proposed allowing those with a concealed-carry license to carry firearms on college campuses.
Collins was also the author of amendment No. 7, which will still establish the to right carry firearms on university campuses, but will extend this right to publically owned property as well as government buildings such as the state capitol. The amendment will remove numerous previous restrictions it consisted of, such as bringing firearms into public parks, liquor stores and churches.
Additionally, the amendment allows for licensees to enter private residences and not disclose to any of the occupants that they are carrying a firearm, and the homeowners will inherently be “immune from a claim for monetary damages arising from or related to the decision,” according to the amended bill.
Establishments that sell alcohol or places of worship may ban guns if officials place a written notice that states their opposition to people carrying guns on their property. People also cannot carry guns in public K-12 schools, prison facilities and courtrooms.
Sen. Larry Teague was the only Democrat in a pool of 18 people to vote in favor of the bill and said that his choice was easy.
“I am a believer in the second amendment. It says you have the right to carry a gun, and I will vote that way. It is that simple,” Teague said.
Teague went further to discuss that although the vote may seem troubling, that there are measures in place that help to ensure that concealed carriers are responsible and competent individuals when it comes to the ownership of a firearm.
To carry a gun on Arkansas campuses, licensees will have to take training courses provided by the state department and will also have to be 21. Because of these restrictions, Teague said he thinks that there will be a higher likelihood that people who carry guns on campuses will be responsible.
“I am sure there will be worries because we have our kids (on campuses), but we also have to protect them,” Teague said.