LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - One day after the Arkansas House passed House Bill 1249, Governor Asa Hutchinson's team has confirmed he will sign the bill into law.
The bill, introduced by state Representative Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville), had an uphill battle making its way to the Governor's desk. Several times throughout the process, the National Rifle Association pulled its support of the bill, but eventually supported the bill after several amendments.
With its additional amendments, the bill was expanded to allow concealed carry license holders to carry not only on college campuses, but would include some bars, churches, and state buildings such as the State Capitol.
"The [NRA] applauds the passage of HB1249, a personal protection bill to strengthen Arkansas's current carry system," the NRA said in a statement released after the bill's passage. "With Governor Hutchinson's signature, law-abiding citizens with enhanced permits will be allowed to defend themselves if attacked by vicious criminals while on campus, out to dinner, or visiting state buildings."
According to the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, if this bill does become law, 5,000 University of Arkansas-Little Rock students--or 43 percent of the student body--will qualify to carry on campus. If they all applied for a concealed carry license, that would mean 200 armed students per officer.
At Pulaski Tech, 48 percent of its students would qualify and at UAMS, that number jumps to 56 percent.
Hutchinson's team did not clarify when he will sign it, just that he will sign the bill into law.
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