Arkansas passes law allowing students to carry guns to sporting events

The law is set to come into effect for the new season

Jack Austin
Wednesday 29 March 2017 21:24 BST
Spectators will be allowed to carry firearms to watch games
Spectators will be allowed to carry firearms to watch games

Arkansas has passed a law allowing guns to be brought into sporting venues, including college American Football games, which can attract up to 70,000 people.

The controversial law has left the University of Arkansas unsure whether its membership of the Southeastern Conference (SEC ) – where members’ sports teams face each other – will be revoked.

According to reports in America, members of the Arkansas Razorbacks – the university’s American Football team – fear they may be kicked out of the SEC and be unable to compete.

House Bill 1249, which was signed by Governor Asa Hutchinson on 22 March, allows people to carry concealed handguns on publicly-owned land, which includes college sports venues.

People possessing the firearms must first complete an eight-hour training course designed by state police on how to handle a handgun, however.

The bill has been amended making college sporting events exempt from the law, but it has not yet been passed, meaning students will legally be allowed to carry guns when watching the Razorbacks.

While the SEC commissioner has released a statement calling for sports venues to be exempt from the gun law, Arkansas state representative Charlie Collins, who pushed through the bill, said he introduced it to allow students to protect themselves from school shooters.

“I understand we’re breaking new ground in general with (the bill)," Collins said on radio show SportsTalk with Bo.

"I understand a subject like guns or snakes or spiders is very emotional, but I am optimistic we’ll be able to balance this so that we can move forward and not risk some kind of a conflict with our sports programmes that no one expects to do.”

The law will go into effect on 1 September – just in time for the start of the new college football season.

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