EL DORADO, Ark.–At South Arkansas Community College, students and faculty are paying close attention to the debate over legalizing guns on campus. A new plan by Senator Trent Garner would allow any concealed-weapon permit holder in Arkansas who is at least 25-years old to carry a gun on public college campuses.
“At the time in which you reduce in which a bad guy starts shooting, and a good guy with a gun shows up, it saves lives,” Sen. Garner said. The bill just introduced in the State Legislature would require gun owners to complete 16 hours of active shooter training if they want to carry their weapons on campus.
South Arkansas Community College says it will accept the outcome if the bill becomes law.
“Originally boards, college boards, university boards, could opt out of having weapons on campus, and ours chose to do that,” Carey Tucker, VP for Finance Administration said. “Now, it’s law, if it passes, which it looks like it will, then we will just abide by the law.”
Some say they will remain neutral on the issue, others believe this will improve their safety, but some student, they simply just don’t agree.
“We know who the security guard is here at school,” Richard Dunlap, Student Government President said. “We see him all the time. We know he’s carrying. If you let them start bringing weapons to school, you have to have it concealed. We don’t know who got a gun, so some students may take it the wrong way if they see it, and that’s going to cause a panic right there. We don’t know who’s going to have it and who’s not. As for training, some administrators believe that it is just enough.
“This training then teaches them how to act in a situation, so I think it’s a logical approach the legislature is taking on that portion of the amendment,” Tucker said. Others aren’t buying it.
“Sixteen hours when SWAT trains for years? No,” said Dunlap.
The says they have held FBI active shooter training exercises, and they will more than likely intensify it whether the bill passes or fails.
Members of the Vermont Air National Guard will return to the Green Mountain State, after serving three months in the Middle East, according to a press release. Guard officials did not give a specific date, but said members would return at the end of February. When reached by phone Wednesday afternoon, Captain Tracy Morris, spokesperson for the Air Guard, said the mission went smoothly, and there were no reported injuries. Morris said for safety and security reasons, she could not release if the airmen were flying directly home.
While overseas, members helped with air-to-ground attacks, guard officials said.
- ^ deployed (www.mychamplainvalley.com)
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- ^ Vermont Air National Guard Deploys Overseas to Fight ISIS (www.mychamplainvalley.com)
- ^ Vermont s Congressional Delegation Reacts to Air Guard s Deployment (www.mychamplainvalley.com)
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Bennie Bowers is the Director of Safety and Security for the Pulaski County Special School District (PCSSD). He spent 25 years with the Michigan State Police. Bowers has a passion for impacting students.
“I’ve got a captive audience. They’re going to come to my schools, all I have to do is be proactive around safety and security opposed to just be reactive,” he says. Bowers says a personal tragedy helped promote a passionate plan.
“I had a personal experience with my nephew. He was found deceased in the St. Joe River in Michigan. And I realized I didn’t necessarily have a great relationship with him and it was based on my lack of being able to communicate with him on his level. He was only 15-years-old,” explains Bowers.
His plan for the PCSSD includes smarter security in schools, like limiting students walking halls and knowing when to close class doors. But Bowers says it also includes connecting to families and students, and that’s where he could make a difference in stopping violence across Central Arkansas.
“Something that could have an impact in reference to violence and a change would be educating the families on what their kids are faced with in 2017 as it relates to violence,” he continues. With the help of local law enforcement, Bowers recently started an Ambassador program to combat bullying. He hopes leaders from area schools will participate. Every week KARK’s Aaron Nolan will tell stories like this one with a focus on people who are making a difference in our community as we all search for victory over violence.