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NO to Arkansas HB 1249 - Campus Concealed Carry Bill

This petition had 135 supporters

HB1249 is a state bill that would force public universities and colleges across the state of Arkansas to allow faculty and staff with Arkansas-issued Conceal and Carry Licenses to arm themselves on campus grounds. Similar bills have previously passed into law, but have included an “opt out” option for public institutions of higher education. To date, 100% of those institutions have exercised their right to “opt out” of the campus carry mandate. HB1249, which has already passed the House of Representatives and is scheduled soon to go before the Senate, includes no such “opt out” clause, effectively forcing public universities and colleges to allow armed faculty and staff on campus and into the classroom.

Representative Charlie Collins, who authored the bill, has claimed that HB1249 is necessary to act as a deterrent for individuals who would carry out mass shootings on college campuses. We need only look to recent history to see how “deterrence through armament” creates not an environment of safety and serenity, but of fear and the abuse of power. The Cold War included a race toward advanced nuclear armament between the Soviet Union and the United States in the name of nuclear deterrence. The Cold War environment was one of fear and paranoia for the entire world as images from the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki burned the reality of nuclear destruction into the global mind. The entire world was literally held hostage by this policy to deter through armament out of fear of nuclear exchange between the two principal Cold War nations.

It is our position that HB1249 will have the same effect. Classrooms are meant to be safe areas where the open and civil exchange of ideas is encouraged. Forcing campuses to allow faculty and staff to arm themselves in the classroom will only foster an environment of fear, repression, and increase the potential for firearms to be misused as tools of intimidation and coercive power in the classroom setting. This sense of fear will destroy the ideals of academic freedom by replacing the safe and open classroom with a potentially hostile one.

 We, the undersigned of the University of Central Arkansas, call upon the Senate Judiciary Committee to support the mission of higher education by voting against this coercive abuse of state power.

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