State Senator speaks about ‘Guns on Campus Bill’ at SCARA meeting

March 13-19, 2017

By Nick Popowitch

On March 1, Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Benton, spoke about a proposed bill that would allow the carrying of firearms on Arkansas public university campuses.

Hutchinson was the guest speaker for the South Central Arkansas Realtors Association General Membership Meeting. He spoke about several legislative actions in the current Arkansas congressional session, including the proposed ‘Guns on Campus Bill.’

The proposed bill, HB 1249, would counteract part of a 2013 law that allowed state schools to choose whether or not their faculty with concealed-carry permits could carry firearms on campus. After the 2013 Law, all state schools had chosen not to allow firearms; HB 1249 would take away the ability of the schools to opt out.

According to the Arkansas State Legislature website, the bill passed in the House, but was halted in the Senate, where Hutchinson proposed an amendment to the bill that would require 16 hours of active-shooter training as well. The amendment was later changed to include all persons 25 or older, not just faculty and staff.

According to Sen. Hutchinson, the National Rifle Association has opposed the Senate amendments.

“The NRA didn’t like that,” said Hutchinson, referring to the amendment requiring active-shooter training. “I had done the same bill for K-12 two years ago, and the NRA championed me as a defender of the 2nd Amendment, and I had training in K-12,” referring to 2015’s Act 933, which allowed similar provisions for private K-12 schools. “I asked, ‘What’s changed? My position has been consistent.’”

According to Hutchinson and the Arkansas State Legislature Website, a recent amendment, proposed by Sen. Linda Collins-Smith, R-Pocahontas, would allow all persons with a concealed-carry permit to carry firearms with no additional training.

Hutchinson also discussed several other legislative actions during the SCARA meeting, including criminal justice reform, tax cuts, and tort reform. He also spoke about proposed bills by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, enacting Article V of the US Constitution, which allows federal amendments to be ratified by 38 states. Hutchinson disagrees with the use of Article V, regardless of the issue.

“I think the Constitution was divinely given, it’s the most incredible governing document this world has ever seen, not just among governments, but among businesses and operating agreements,” said Hutchinson, when explaining his opposition to the use of Article V. “There’s only one way to explain it, and that is, that God was involved in it. Quite frankly, as I look around our country, I don’t see many James Madisons or Thomas Jeffersons, and I think it would be disastrous.”

Prior to Sen. Hutchinson’s discussion, the SCARA conducted normal business, including the financial report, announcement of the association’s new building, recognition of affiliates, the Real Estate Networking event announcements, and the recognition of new members.

The new building for SCARA is located at 410 Highway 5 N. in Benton. Members of the building committee were recognized for their efforts.

Young Professional’s Networking committee has changed their name to Real Estate Networking committee, but is still committed to helping Realtors network with reliable affiliates. Heather Higgs, the Real Estate Networking chair, announced an upcoming event on March 27, where they will be raising funds for their charity, Hearts For Homes.

The new members recognized at the meeting were Lauren Robinson, Jesse Baxley, Sherrie Benton and Lisa Hunter.


New members sworn in during the March 1st General Membership Meeting of the South Central Arkansas Realtors Association were (l to r) Lauren Robinson, Jesse Baxley and Lisa Hunter. (Photo by Nick Popowitch)