New bill bans concealed weapons from Arkansas sporting events

Until an exemption was passed, a new law, would have allowed patrons with additional training to bring guns into Razorback Stadium. (Getty)
Until an exemption was passed, a new law, would have allowed patrons with additional training to bring guns into Razorback Stadium. (Getty)

It looks like concealed firearms will not be allowed at athletic events in Arkansas after all.

A week after Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that would allow concealed carry for licensed persons (with eight additional hours of training) at an increased number of public places, including Arkansas Razorbacks football games, the state’s House of Representatives passed an amendment that would give exemptions to state colleges and universities.

Per the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Senate Bill 724 passed by a 71-20 vote on Thursday and allows state colleges and universities, like the University of Arkansas, to exempt themselves from the law. The vote comes two days after the SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference was opposed to the law.

From the Democrat-Gazette:

That law, which allows people who have concealed-carry licenses and have up to eight hours of extra training to take their guns on public places, was signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week. Venues included in the law are college campuses, bars and churches as well as most public buildings including the state Capitol.

Act 562 is set to take effect Sept. 1, though the Arkansas State Police must first develop the weapons training program.

The law was signed by Hutchinson last Wednesday and the state senate moved quickly to ensure college stadiums were exempt. Later that week, Hutchinson — after hearing objections from across the state — reversed course and publicly backed a proposed change to remove college sporting events from the language of the law.

This week, Sankey made it clear he believed the law “could negatively impact” athletics at the University of Arkansas.

“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.

“HB 1249 creates concerns for the Southeastern Conferences and its member institutions. It remains our collective desire to provide a safe environment for student-athletes, coaches, officials and fans and will continue to closely monitor the status of this legislation.”

After Thursday’s vote, the bill now moves on to the state Senate.

For more Arkansas news, HawgSports.com.

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Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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