The SEC ain’t happy about the state of Arkansas preparing to allow guns at college sporting events.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey that the measure signed into law last week by Gov. Asa Hutchinson creates concerns for the conference and its member institutions. The new law allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry on college campuses, government buildings and some bars if they undergo up to eight hours of active shooter training.
The University of Arkansas is an SEC school, and Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium holds 72,000 people.
“Given the intense atmosphere surrounding athletic events, adding weapons increases safety concerns and could negatively impact the intercollegiate athletics program at the University of Arkansas in several ways, including scheduling, officiating, recruiting and attendance,” Sankey said in a statement. A spokesman for the conference declined to answer whether the new law would threaten future SEC games in Arkansas.
Why answer, when the question itself speaks volumes?
Thus beginneth the backtracking.
An Arkansas House committee advanced a measure Tuesday to exempt college sporting events from a state law allowing guns after the Southeastern Conference appealed for guns to be banned from facilities such as football stadiums.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson
signed the new state law last week allowing concealed handguns at colleges, government buildings, some bars and even the State Capitol.
The House Judiciary Committee advanced the exemption measure after it was amended. Under the amended exemption, college stadiums such as the University of Arkansas’ Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences would be able to designate sensitive areas where they wouldn’t want people to carry concealed handguns. To prohibit concealed carry in those sensitive areas, they would have to put together a security plan for those areas and submit it to Arkansas State Police for approval.
Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger told the panel that the changes to the proposed exemption measure were made to address concerns people had with the original bill.
“We took ten steps forward, and a lot of people weren’t quite ready to go that far forward. So now we’re taking one step backward,” Ballinger said.
Ballinger said that if college sporting events and the medical facilities were going to prohibit concealed carry, then they must demonstrate that they will provide the necessary security.
The National Rifle Association, which supported the expanded concealed handguns law, opposes the exemption measure in its current and previous form.
The SEC vs. the NRA? Boy, talk about your meteor game there. I guess we’re about to find out whether football or guns hold more weight in the South, although I suspect those handsome checks the conference sends Fayetteville’s way every year may have an impact on the deliberations, too.