Another Arkansas college has opted out of a new state law that allows faculty and staff members to carry concealed guns on campus.
East Arkansas Community College's board of trustees voted last week to opt out of the law, approved this year by the Legislature. The Times-Herald reports that the board decided that hiring extra armed security officers would be a better option for the two-year school in Forrest City.
The law allows faculty and staff with concealed-carry permits to carry the guns on campus unless the institution opts out.
"We had a lot of discussion on this bill when it was going through," college President Coy Grace said. "Most of the college presidents and most of the educators who spoke were more in favor of more licensed and trained armed security on campus than they were in the way the bill was written."
Grace said he and others were concerned about liability issues the college may occur — whether the school allowed the guns or not.
"It makes armed security out of your faculty and staff, and that's not why they came here," he said.
St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May, who serves on the college's board of trustees, also opposed allowing weapons on campus. He said adding a sheriff's substation on campus would do more to enhance security.
"I think this is a bad bill. I'm going to be plain-spoken about it," May said. "Teachers, faculty, staff, are not police officers. Police officers go through weeks, months of training in shoot-or-don't-shoot situations. We consider ourselves professionals. I think it's a bad idea."
The University of Central Arkansas and Henderson State University have also voted to opt out. The boards governing the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University are scheduled to vote on the issue later this month.
Information from: Times-Herald, http://www.thnews.com/