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A few weeks ago, the Arkansas governor signed a new gun law, backed by the National Rifle Association, allowing individuals with concealed carry permits to carry their concealed handguns into all sorts of new places previously prohibited. However, one of those places, college athletics stadiums, has attracted the criticism of the all powerful Southeastern Conference (affectionately known to college sports fans as the SEC), which brings millions of dollars to the state.
The SEC, along with two other collegiate sports conferences, made requests to the Arkansas legislature to carve out exemptions to the new concealed carry law allowing universities to prohibit concealed carry permit holders from carrying at sports venues and other locations or events.
The Arkansas legislature, not surprisingly, heard the SEC's concerns loud and clear. While the SEC didn't specifically threaten any consequences, the legislature seems to understand that there could be millions of dollars in losses if the SEC decides to shut out Arkansas schools from hosting games.
Additionally, the common sense aspect of not allowing sports fans to carry weapons of any kind into sporting events appears to be prevailing in the legislature. After all, angry fans have been known to turn nearly anything into a projectile and/or weapon, particularly after a few too many alcoholic beverages.
The legislature is exploring an amendment to the Arkansas law that would allow sports venues to ban individuals from carrying their permitted concealed weapon only if the venue meets certain regulations regarding providing adequate security, and posts adequate signage and notification of the policy.
Surprisingly, the recent law that was passed was initially intended to only allow college faculty and staff to carry legally permitted concealed weapons on campus. However, once the bill hit the legislature, it was expanded to allow anyone with a valid concealed carry permit to carry on college campuses. Now, under the pressure of the SEC, state lawmakers are trying to amend the new law before it is set to take effect next year.