The Arkansas legislature has approved a bill that would let universities in the state decide whether to permit guns on campus.
The Republican-controlled state Senate voted 31-4 to send the bill to the desk of Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, who has indicated he will sign it. The governing boards of individual universities will then gain the power to permit guns on campus.
If schools decide to keep guns banned, the law will require them to revisit the issue each year.
A spokesperson for the University of Arkansas was unsure what the administration’s decision would be.
“If the bill becomes law, we will consult with our general counsel, the chair of our board of trustees and the leaders of the individual campuses before making a policy recommendation to the board that considers all aspects of the law,” said Ben Beaumont, a University of Arkansas spokesperson, in a statement.
Opposition to the bill is strong among students and faculty at the University of Arkansas.
“I, along with many of my classmates, decry this irresponsible bill,” wrote Aaron Gibson, a student and co-founder of Arkansas Against Guns on Campus, in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is a dangerous attempt to solve a problem that does not exist. I have spoken to many students and faculty about the bill and they fear that it will be counterproductive in that it will actually increase violence.”
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