Administrators at yet another Arkansas college have decided to restrict guns, out of concern for students and staff who might otherwise “feel less safe.”
The board of trustees at Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) voted Wednesday to prohibit concealed weapons on campus for everyone except licensed law enforcement officers. The decision is in line with a recent Arkansas law that allows schools throughout the state to set their own policies with respect to guns. Most state universities, including the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University, have declared themselves gun-free zones.
ANC will, however, allow commuters to bring guns to campus as long as they are left behind, stored and secured, in vehicles. ANC President Dr. James Shemwell hoped that this allowance would better protect the campus’s female commuters.
“We have no on-campus housing, so by definition everyone who attends classes at ANC or works at ANC commutes,” Shemwell said in a statement. “Two-thirds of our students are females, the majority of our employees are females, and it’s very likely that many of those individuals — perhaps males as well — would not feel comfortable commuting if they did not have a means of protection in their vehicle.”
But if guns make female commuters safer on their drive to ANC, wouldn’t guns also protect them while they were on school grounds?
Not so, wrote Shemwell, who maintained that people should not be allowed to carry guns while on campus “because of the larger number of people who would feel less safe having to attend class or work next to someone with a gun at their fingertips,” in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Our policy mirrors the former Arkansas law before it was modified during the most recent Arkansas General Assembly,” he wrote.
Restrictive gun policies at Arkansas universities have generated media attention and criticism of late. A campus safety officer at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) advised prospective victims of violent crime to “nod” and “glance” at their would-be attackers in lieu of using guns, which are prohibited. Several members of the UALR community have been attacked during their commute to campus, according to reports.
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