AR: Legislature Votes to Keep Gun Free Zones at Stadiums, Removes Restrictions on Carry for State Employees

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The Arkansas Legislature has passed SB 724. It rolls back a number of reforms passed with HB 1249 only 10 days ago.  SB 724 had overwhelming support in the House and Senate. So did HB 1249. The final vote in the House on March 30th was 71-20 with 9 “other”. In the Senate, on March 31, it was 23-7, with 5 “other”.  From the NRA-ILA:

SB 724 would undermine some of the key concealed carry advancements made with the recent passage and enactment of House Bill 1249, which was signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson on March 23 as Act 562. This bill would amend several sections of Act 562 by adding public teaching hospitals and college sporting events to the list of places where licensees with the enhanced carry permit would still be prohibited from carrying. Prohibited places would be able to employ vague prohibited postings, with the consequence of everyday concealed carry permit holders being charged with a class A misdemeanor.

Much pressure was applied by SEC (Southeastern Conference) Commissioner Greg Sankey. Sankey has served in various positions in the SEC for 15 years. He is a native of Auburn, New York. He earned his bachelors degree from the State University of New York at Cortland and his masters degree from Syracuse University in New York.  From sportingnews.com:

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also issued a statement Tuesday, saying he wanted stadiums exempt from the new gun law.

The higher education lobby has held enormous power in the legislature for the last 100 years.

Another gun law reform passed on the same day as the roll back of some of the HB 1249 reforms.  From talkbusiness.net:

The Senate also voted for House Bill 1895 by Rep. Mickey Gates, R-Hot Springs, allowing state employees with concealed carry permits who work at county courthouses to carry their firearms into those courthouses. County employees already have that ability under the law. The bill passed 24-5 with 6 not voting.

HB 1895 passed the House 78-2 with 20 “other”. It passed the legislature on 31 March, with SB 724.  The bill to restore the right to bear arms to government employees who are not law enforcement is a trend across the nation, as is restoring the right to carry on campus.

It is likely that both bills will be signed into law by Governor Hutchinson.

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