Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch has released a statement on how the university system will respond to the recent act that will allow concealed handguns to be carried on campus. The full text is below:
I want to update the entire Arkansas State University System community on how we plan to move forward with the implementation of Act 562 of 2017, which concerns the possession of concealed handguns on our campuses.
As you know, we publicly opposed this legislation and expressed our concern that this decision should be made at the local level by our Board of Trustees, following input from our varying campus constituencies. Unfortunately, we were not successful in our efforts and now must fully comply with this new law.
First, let me note that nothing has immediately changed regarding current ASU System gun policies. The effective date for this new law is Sept. 1, 2017. However, the Arkansas State Police has 120 days from that date to promulgate rules for enhanced certification training, so this date could be further delayed. The only individuals who will ultimately be allowed to carry a handgun on campus are those who (a) are age 21 or over and have a concealed carry license and (b) complete an additional training course of up to eight hours for advanced certification that will be developed and approved by the Arkansas State Police.
The ASU System will update its policies to comply with the law and present them to the ASU Board of Trustees for approval prior to Sept. 1. At that time, we will distribute the policies and provide additional guidance regarding the implementation and enforcement of the new law.
Please know that under the new law, it will remain unlawful for anyone other than law enforcement or security personnel to possess a handgun or other weapon in campus residence halls and daycare facilities or at collegiate athletic events.
Your safety on our campuses is very important. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure your safety, and this includes training programs and additional security measures that have already been implemented on our campuses.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. If you have any questions about this new law, please do not hesitate to contact my office.