Arkansas Legislative Update: 3/28

New Graded Legislation

Denise Garner (100% vote index, +13 total score), who earned a LEAP Forward endorsement during the 2018 campaign, has introduced new legislation to the Arkansas House.

HB 1938, descriptively titled Granting A Public College Or University The Ability To Determine If Possession Of A Concealed Handgun On The Campus Of The Public College Or University By A Person Is Permitted. This bill would give local control over who can have a gun and where back to colleges and universities.

Garner defeated Charlie Collins last November. Collins was the author of the legislation that allowed guns on campuses in the first place, and Garner ran strongly on a promise to roll that legislation back.

Garner told KATV international students have opted out from coming to Arkansas to attend schools and her constituents are sending their kids out of state.

“Saying no ought to be an option for some of these campuses, if they feel that economically, especially for the safety of their students that that's their best option then I think they should do it,” she added.

HB 1939 would mandate universal background checks before the sale or transfer of a firearm. Current law only covers federally licensed dealers, and this bill would require private sellers to go to a dealer to get a background check done.

Both bills are set to be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

Scored Votes

HB 1820 was passed by the full House yesterday and has been transmitted to the Senate, where it was assigned to the City, County, and Local Affairs Committee.

This legislation strikes machine guns, sawed off shotguns and rifles, and silenced firearms from the list of prohibited weapons and passed 72-14, with four Democrats voting in favor and three Republicans voting against.