The Arkansas 90th General Assembly is over, and Representative Collins' HB 1077, the bill to put guns on our college campuses, was never heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee after it left the House Education Committee, heavily amended.
So for the next two years, the Boards of Trustees will meet and vote whether or not to opt out of Act 226, the law already on the books that allows guns on our campuses. For the past two years, the Boards of Trustees have unanimously voted to opt out of the law, and we hope this united opposition continues.
It was an unpopular bill, and the affected constituency—faculty, staff, students, administrators—were united in opposition to it.
On the front lines, though, we had some very brave, articulate, and dedicated legislators from both sides of the aisle who not only listened to us, but acted, both publicly and privately, to keep our campuses safe. To them, we owe the greatest debt of gratitude.
And it's unproductive, in my opinion, to adopt what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the "victor's psychology." Better to say that just for a moment in the early months of 2015, with a concerted community effort, there was just enough sanity to go around, to tip the scales, just a bit, in our favor.
I'm not sure why that sanity arose, whether it has any staying power, and whether we fully understand what processes—political, social, psychological—gave rise to it, but I can say this: I greatly appreciate your support, encouragement, and dedication to keeping our campuses gun-free.
And this too: without your help, I am certain that those scales would not have tipped.
Over the next two years, I have some general plans for keeping our campuses within this realm of sanity, and as I develop them, I will keep you all informed and depend upon you for your advice and direction.
For now, though, I'll give your inbox a rest.
But thanks again. Your support was sustaining. And it clearly mattered.