Arkansas police slow to develop required training for campus carry

Arkansas’ new campus carry law is set to take effect Sept. 1, but a training requirement may cause some major delays for gun owners.

Under the new law, concealed-carry permit holders 21 and older can carry concealed firearms on college campuses, the state Capitol, and several other public places, so long as those individuals complete up to eight hours of required training. However, Arkansas Online reported that Arkansas State Police have yet to create the eight-hour active shooter training program and most likely won’t have it implemented until next year.

Starting Sept. 1, the police department has 120 days to develop the program, and state police spokesman Bill Sadler said it is most likely going to take the full amount of time for them to do so.

“Quite frankly, it’s going to take every bit of that to get it done,” Sadler said. “There is a learning curve for the state police to get back into the mindset that this is going to change what has existed since 1992.”

While waiting on the training and finalized rules, university staff are reminding students that guns are still banned from dormitories or residence halls and can only be stored in locked, unattended vehicles in a university parking lot.

The original version of the pro-gun law, Act 562, greatly expanded where concealed guns could be carried in Arkansas, but caused an uproar when some circles realized firearms would be allowed in heated collegiate athletic events, such as football games at the University of Arkansas.

That uproar led to the passing of another law, Act 859, which will allow college sports stadiums and teaching hospitals to submit security plans to Arkansas State Police. If approved, those facilities could then apply for annual waivers to designate areas where guns are prohibited.

Republican Rep. Charlie Collins said he had proposed the gun rights expansion legislation to make campuses and other places safer, but university boards have so far continued to adopt resolutions to ban guns until the new law takes effect this September.

“The failure to adopt such a resolution could result in additional confusion with regard to the new concealed-carry law as well as allow employees with a concealed-carry permit, who have not completed the additional training to carry a concealed handgun on campus from Aug. 16, 2017 until Sept. 1, 2017,” said Christina Madsen, associate vice president of communications, public relations and marketing at the University of Central Arkansas.