eStem High School On UA-Little Rock Campus, Parents Question Campus Carry Impact

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Governor Asa Hutchinson has signed a bill into law, which now, vastly expands gun rights across the state. 

The legislation will allow guns on college campuses, bars, even the State Capitol, for people who have enhanced concealed carry licenses. 

The Governor says this law will make the state safer by allowing trained citizens to bring their guns into these sensitive areas. 

As that bill moves forward, it leaves some people with more questions. Next school year eStem will move it's high school to the University of Arkansas - Little Rock campus. By that time, guns will be allowed on the college campuses, but still banned from K-12th grade schools. 

As Governor Asa Hutchinson announces he's signed campus carry into law, Tracy Speed, an eStem mom of three, says she is looking for answers.  

"Because eStem is embarking on this experiment of putting a high school campus on the UA-Little Rock campus, it just creates the question of how are we going to keep our kids safe?" said Speed. 

During a press conference Wednesday, the Governor noted primary education was exempt from the law. 

"Public schools, K-12, are excluded from any of the enhanced carry," said Hutchinson. 

Speed now wants to know how this will affect her high schoolers. 

"I'm hoping there's going to be some listening sessions, or open sessions, and that they are going to listen to parent concerns and involve the parents in formulating the policies," said Speed. 

UA-Little Rock acknowledges it doesn't know what will happen yet, saying in a statement: 

"UA Little Rock believes that a decision such as this that involves the safety of our students is best left to our board of trustees, which has voted continuously to disallow concealed handguns on our campuses at the advice of our law enforcement officials. As with any law that impacts us, however, the next step will be to ensure that our policies and practices align with the law.

In terms of how the law affects eStem high school on the UA Little Rock campus, this will need to be answered by the legislature. In addition to the high school opening at UA Little Rock this fall, we have many high school and younger students on campus throughout the year for camps, tours, and other events. This is true with other college campuses in Arkansas. The legislature has been made aware of this. At this point we will have to adapt and do our best based on what our law enforcement recommends and the board of trustees approves." 

"It's so imperative that we find out what the plan is and we have a plan in place ahead of time," said Speed. 

Speed says it's much more than getting answers for her kids and eStem, but all students who go to college campuses. 

"I have to trust that people smarter than me are putting a plan into place," said Speed. 

We did call and email eStem asking for a comment. We haven't heard back yet, but the school is currently on spring break. 


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