A recently passed law that allows concealed weapons throughout the state, including at sporting events like college football games at Arkansas’ stadium, has been met with opposition. So much so that the state’s senate, which passed the law, has backed an exemption to be made for college sporting events.
That exemption has not been passed yet, leading the SEC to step in and share its opinion on the matter.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said on Tuesday that he supports the senate’s exemption to HB1249 that would prevent firearms from being allowed inside publicly funded stadiums in the state of Arkansas. The amendment to the campus carry bill still has to go to the house and back to governor Asa Hutchinson to be ratified.
In a statement, Sankey called Arkansas “a valued member of the Southeastern Conference” with “a long history of working with public safety officials to provide a safe environment for intercollegiate athletic competition.”
“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance,” he said.
The bill, set to take effect in September, would allow those with a concealed handgun license, which requires eight hours of training, to bring weapons into stadiums if the exemptions do not pass.
“This bill, in my view, reflects the will of the General Assembly and is constitutional and will balance public safety and the Second Amendment,” Hutchinson said after signing the bill this month. However, Hutchinson later said he supported efforts to exempt college sporting events from the bill.
If Hutchinson does indeed support the exemption, that would mean the Arkansas House is the last line of sorts to vote in favor of common sense.