Arkansas Senate Votes To Exempt Stadiums From New Guns Law

Mar 23, 2017

The Arkansas Senate has voted to exempt college sporting events from a new law greatly expanding where concealed handguns are allowed, moving quickly to address concerns that the sweeping gun rights measure would lead to armed spectators at stadiums and arenas.

The Senate on Thursday voted 22-10 to add the exemption to the measure signed into law a day earlier by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The new law allows people with a concealed handgun to carry at colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol if they undergo up to eight hours of active shooter training.

The bill, which heads to the House, also exempts the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the state hospital.

A sponsor of the expanded gun rights law opposed the move, saying it would undermine the measure.

Hutchinson said he supported the changes to the concealed guns law.

"The unique environment of a teaching hospital makes it reasonable to exempt UAMS, and the other exception for college sporting events addresses the concerns expressed by many Arkansans. Because these appear to be reasonable exceptions, I will support these amendments," the governor said in a statement.