Guns In Arkansas Stadiums? What A Terrible Idea!


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Mar 23, 2017 at 1:52 PM ET

Remember when a wingnut representative from the state of Washington put forth a bill that would have allowed guns to be brought into privately-owned sports stadiums? It seems this terrible idea is catching on.

A nifty bit of legislation has been okayed down in Arkansas, House Bill 1249, which will allow gun owners with concealed-carry permits and who’ve logged eight hours worth of training to bring firearms into all kinds of public facilities: the state capitol, government facilities, some bars (!), and yes… sports stadiums.

Why the hell would anyone need to be packing heat at a college game? Via the Associated Press:

“This bill, in my view, reflects the will of the General Assembly and is constitutional and will balance public safety and the Second Amendment,” Governor Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference after signing the measure.

Oh, well then. That explains it. It’s also true that Governor Hutchinson has a bit of a history with the National Rifle Association. He previously stumped for the NRA’s ludicrous post-Sandy Hook plan to put an armed guard in every school, though the NRA failed to mention that he was still serving on the board of directors of Securitas, a major security contractor, had been a paid lobbyist for another, and had lobbied on behalf of one of the country’s largest manufacturers of body armor. As a congressman from 1996 until 2001, Hutchinson’s top donor was the NRA, hauling in upwards of $30,000, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

Despite some haggling over the language, the NRA seems pleased with their man in Little Rock’s efforts. Originally, the bill would have required that anyone taking a gun into a stadium OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO IDIOTIC be 25 or older. But that minor limit on SWEET CREAMERY FREEDOM just would not stand, man, and so the provision was dropped.

“This step goes a long way towards recognizing law-abiding people in this state have the right to defend themselves anywhere they have a legal right to be,” Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, said at the news conference.

Fortunately, the bill won’t go into effect until 2018 to give law enforcement officials enough time to put together a training program that will pass muster. So, one final season for Arkansas fans without worrying if the yahoo sitting next to you might be too drunk and jacked up on an exciting sportsball game to recall the firearm safety practices he was taught. You do have to bring clear bags from now on, though.

Greg Leding, a Democrat representative, said the idea of allowing possibly inebriated fans to bear arms is “ridiculous” and another unnamed legistator called the bill “horrifying,” which it is.

KTHV, a CBS affiliate in Little Rock, got a hold of an active undercover police officer, speaking anonymously, to explain how and why this would only make an active shooter scene more difficult for police to handle and could result in catastrophe.

While the intent of the law is to allow more people to act as first responders and potentially limit the violence of a terror attack, the officer fears that good intentions could lead to tragedy.

“You may have a classroom with two or three people in it that are armed, and they don’t know each other person is armed,” he explained, “and they may initially try to help us, and one of the other people in the room may think they’re a part of the active shooting situation. So you could have allies shooting each other.”

Separating the Good Samaritan from the suspect could add an additional layer of complexity, which the officer believes could slow down law enforcement.

Maybe someone can get a cop to talk with Governor Hutchinson, who said, “The enhanced level of training is very important, and I am convinced the public will be more safe.”

UPDATE: The Arkansas state Senate reversed course, carving out an exception for college sports events and medical schools. Governor Hutchinson is backing the change, though you can still bring a loaded weapon on campus and to a government office because what could possibly go wrong?