Concealed Carry on Campus FAQs

North Arkansas College is committed to providing a safe campus environment for all who work, study and visit. We continue to work carefully on policies and procedures for implementation and compliance with state laws.

How have the concealed carry laws changed for Arkansas public colleges and universities?

During the 2017 regular legislative session, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 562, commonly referred to as “campus carry.” Act 562 allows individuals with concealed handgun permits to carry concealed handguns on college campuses if they have successfully completed an additional enhanced certification-training course of up to 8 hours. As explained later in this document, there are some locations excluded in Act 562 where handguns can be completely prohibited.

What does “concealed” mean?
“Concealed” means to cover from observation so as to prevent public view, per Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-301(2).

What is Enhanced Concealed Carry?
According to the Arkansas State Police, an enhanced license authorizes the licensee to “carry” or “possess” a concealed handgun in the buildings and on the grounds of certain locations. Possession is limited to carrying of the handgun on or about the licensee’s person, in a vehicle occupied by licensee, or otherwise readily available for use. At all times, the licensee must retain the firearm in his or her immediate vicinity (within arm’s reach). A licensee is not authorized to leave the handgun unattended in a separate location for safekeeping or future use, except when the handgun is placed in a locked and unattended motor vehicle in a publicly owned and maintained parking lot as permitted by law.

Can faculty, staff or students carry concealed weapons off campus?
Arkansas has offered a concealed weapon permit since 1996 that allows people to carry concealed weapons in the state.

Are handguns the only type of firearm to which campus carry applies?

Yes. Act 562 authorizes individuals with concealed handgun licenses to carry a concealed handgun provided all the enhanced certification training has been successfully completed. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-309 defines a handgun as “any firearm, other than a fully automatic firearm, with a barrel length of less than twelve inches (12”) that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one (1) hand.”

Can anyone carry a handgun on an Arkansas public college campus?
No. Campus carry is limited to individuals who have been issued a valid concealed handgun license and who complete enhanced certification training of up to 8 hours developed by the Arkansas State Police as required by Act 562.

Is an individual required to be at least 21 in order to obtain a concealed handgun license?
Generally, yes.  However, under Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-309(3), a concealed handgun license is also available to applicants who are at least 18 and (i) currently a federally recognized commissioned or noncommissioned officer or an enlisted member on active duty in the United States Armed Forces; (ii) in the National Guard or a reserve component of the United States Armed Forces; or (iii) a former member of the United States Armed Forces who has been honorably discharged.

What responsibility does a concealed handgun licensee have to keep his or her weapon concealed? Is the licensee violating the terms of the permit if someone gets a glimpse of the licensee’s handgun?

A person with a license to carry a concealed handgun must conceal the weapon. A violation would occur when a person knowingly and intentionally displays the handgun in plain view of another person. If a person's coat opens in the act of raising his or her arm to ask a question, for example, and a handgun can be seen, it is not a violation.

Where does a weapon need to be in order to be legally considered "concealed?” Can a weapon be in a backpack or purse, or does it need to be directly on a person's body or within reaching distance of the person?

Neither Act 562 or 859 expressly states where a handgun must be in order to be considered "concealed." The handgun cannot be in plain view or discernable by ordinary observation.  Further, the handgun must be on the license holder's person or in close proximity (as to be readily accessible).

May I store a handgun in a locker?
No. Even individuals with a special endorsement for concealed carry on campus may not store their handgun in any college facilities, including locker rooms. The only allowable storage for handguns on campus is in locked and unattended motor vehicles on college or public property.

Can I carry a gun to class?
Yes, if the requirements for concealed carry on campus are met: A person must have a valid concealed carry license and the enhance carry certification issued by the Arkansas State Police.

Will there be any limitations regarding when and where a person who has the enhanced training may carry a concealed handgun?

Yes. The new laws prohibit an individual from carrying a handgun into grievance and disciplinary meetings conducted in accordance with College procedures and lasting no more than 9 hours provided (a) the meeting is held in a room that is “no larger than necessary to complete the meeting;” (b) the individual is given at least 24 hours notice of the meeting; and (c) a notice is posted on the door in which the meeting is being held that possession of a handgun is prohibited. Additionally, these laws prohibit individuals from carrying a gun into: collegiate athletic events that have security plans approved by the Arkansas State Police.

Can a student who legally possesses a concealed handgun be excluded from the classroom because he or she has a concealed weapon?
No. The act of carrying a concealed handgun with the appropriate licenses is not considered a disruption of class activity or other college operation. Likewise, another person’s adverse reaction to someone carrying a handgun in accordance with Arkansas law is not grounds to eject a person legally possessing a concealed weapon from the classroom.

What do I do if I see a person with a gun on campus?
Students, staff members, faculty members and visitors may not display a handgun on North Arkansas College campuses. Handguns must be concealed at all times, barring life-threatening emergencies. If you observe someone displaying a handgun on campus, it should be reported to the North Arkansas College Police Department. If you observe someone displaying a handgun on campus in a threatening manner, call 911.

Can I store a weapon in my car?
Yes. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-306 (13)(B)(v) specifies that storage of a concealed handgun is allowed in a locked and unattended motor vehicle in a publicly owned and maintained parking lot.

How will the College manage someone who has a gun and is exhibiting threatening behavior?

It is a criminal act to exhibit threatening behavior with a gun, regardless of the individual's concealed carry permit status. When a crime is committed on campus, police officers or local law enforcement will respond and take appropriate action. Additionally, if the individual is an employee or student, the College will also take appropriate disciplinary action.

May a police officer ask an individual to display their concealed carry license?

Yes. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-315 (b)(2) requires a licensee to display their license if asked by law enforcement.

Does a law enforcement officer have the right to disarm an individual?

Yes. If a law enforcement officer reasonably believes a safety risk exists, the officer may disarm an individual.

Will students, faculty and staff members who have a license to carry a concealed handgun and who have successfully completed the enhanced training be required to register with the campus police department?

No.

Will the college provide employees or students with safety training on how to properly use a handgun?

No. Concealed carry licensees are required to complete mandatory safety courses to acquire concealed carry licenses, and they will be required to complete up to 8 hours of enhanced certification training provided by the Arkansas State Police before being authorized to carry on a campus.

What should I do if someone takes a handgun out of a backpack or briefcase?

Students, staff members, faculty members and visitors may not display a handgun on North Arkansas College campuses. Handguns must be concealed at all times, barring life-threatening emergencies. If you observe someone displaying a handgun on campus, it should be reported to campus police.

What should I do if I see a handgun on campus and feel threatened?

If you see someone carrying a handgun on campus and feel threatened, you should contact campus police. The law prohibits the visible display of handguns.

May I ask someone if they have a concealed carry permit?

Yes, but the individual being asked has no obligation to answer. An individual with a concealed carry permit who has completed the additional enhanced certification training under Act 562 is not required to reveal their permit status unless asked by a law enforcement officer in accordance with Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-315. No action may be taken against an employee or student because of their status as a concealed carry permit holder.

May I use my weapon as a means of defense if there are shots being fired?

A handgun may be used in self-defense only as allowed by Arkansas law. By so doing, the person is acting as a private citizen and not as an authorized agent of the College.

What is the penalty for bringing a concealed handgun to campus without being properly licensed or for carrying a concealed handgun into a prohibited area?
Those who violate the campus carry law are subject to legal action in accordance with Acts 562 and 859. Additionally, violations of the campus carry law may, for students, result in disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the college, and for employees, result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

Will concealed handguns be allowed at college-sponsored athletic venues, such as North Arkansas College basketball games?
No. Act 859 prohibits individuals (regardless of certification) from carrying a concealed handgun into a collegiate athletic event, provided the event is a posted firearm-sensitive area under a security plan approved by the Arkansas State Police. The college will be working with the State Police and will submit security plans to obtain approval to have these venues designated as firearm-sensitive areas.

I have a concealed carry permit issued in another state. Can I carry my concealed weapon on campus?
No. A person must have a valid concealed carry permit and complete the additional enhanced certification training to receive an enhanced permit, in order to be allowed to carry on campus.

For more information please see the North Arkansas College FAQs, Concealed Carry on Campus Information, or the Arkansas State Police Concealed Handgun Carry License Rules.