FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas Act 562, which allows for the concealed carry of guns at the University of Arkansas, goes into effect Sept. 1 and will impact a large portion of the campus–many members with varying opinions on what the act may mean.
Some students chose to voice their concerns regarding Act 562 through a peaceful protest on the U of A campus Aug. 31.
The protest, Citizens Against Guns on Campus, was aimed at voicing concerns regarding the potential outcomes of carrying weapons on campus.
“It’s already very high stress. This will make it just a very unsafe to have handguns. Plus if there was an active shooter, then it makes the police’s job more difficult to identify what is going on when there are a hundred guns in the room,” said Zachary Renfor, a junior at the U of A.
Concealed carry holders must be at least 21 years old and complete an additional 8 hour training course.
The course will be created by the Arkansas State Police, which has until Jan. 1 to implement the course.
Some students, like Cui Starr, a freshman at the U of A, said this measure still isn’t enough to feel safe.
“I know a lot of people feel safer having a weapon on them, but I feel like it is not going to make anyone feel more safe,” Starr said.
Fayetteville Representative Charlie Collins, who introduced the legislation, said it will benefit safety in public places.
“If they have to fear that there will be a good guy or a good gal with a gun, I believe some of those rampage killers will say I’m not going to kill people are Arkansas colleges today,” Collins said.
Another Fayetteville representative, Greg Leding, is against the bill.
“I’ve heard from parents that they want to send their children elsewhere. I have heard from faculty they are going to look for jobs elsewhere,” Leding said. “This is going to do a lot in damping recruitment when it comes to not only students and facility but athletes as well.”
Perhaps the only thing that everyone can agree on in regards to Act 562 is that not everyone can agree.
“As long as there are no problems with it, then it doesn’t bug me,” said Cal Owens, a UA freshman. “If they are only using it for self defense then it doesn’t affect me because I’m not going to attack them.”
But not everyone interprets the implementation of the law similarly.
Blair Carver, a UA sophomore, said that the ultimate responsibility lies on students, staff and faculty of the university to be aware of what the law means while forming opinions that affect the university at large.
“Both parties in this have a huge say on what goes on in our campus and everyone’s voice matters but make sure you know what you are talking about, who you are talking about, and how this effects the university as a whole,” Carver said.