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Campuses show wisdom

If you’ve ever seen the classic holiday movie, A Christmas Story, then you probably remember the main character Ralphie unhappily wearing bunny suit pajamas made by an oblivious aunt. As Ralphie says, “Aunt Clara had for years labored under the delusion that I was not only perpetually 4 years old, but also a girl.”

Feelings such as these are cropping up in university administrative meetings all over Arkansas. In the wake of a recent legislative decision to allow the concealed carry of firearms on Arkansas’ college campuses, administrators are trying to figure out how they’ll wear this unwanted bunny suit.

A decision last week by the University of Central Arkansas’ Board of Trustees to ban guns from campus reflects a growing consensus among schools statewide. The board voted 5-1 Friday to opt out of the new state law that allows weapons on campus carried by faculty or staff members with a concealed-carry permit. It is the state’s first four-year college to do so.

UCA President Tom Courtway, campus Police Chief Larry James, the staff senate and the faculty senate recommended the action.

As SEARK College officials indicated in their decision to opt out, having gun-wielding citizens on campus has the potential to exacerbate rapidly unfolding, dangerous situations. In short, police arriving on the scene of gun violence don’t need the extra hurdle of having to figure out which armed person is the bad guy. Should the cop guess wrong, Joe Blow could go from would-be hero to shooting victim.

What people like Hinkle and bill sponsor, State Rep. Mark Lowery, R-Maumelle (who is a UCA faculty member), seem to miss in their rush to protect individual “rights” is that we all have rightful expectations of safety. Having completed a few hours in a concealed carry permit class does not in any way make one a marksman. Nor does it ensure a level head, valid perspective or common sense when things start to go wrong. Bullets don’t know that the shooter has only good intentions. They just hit who they hit.

Fortunately — and to their great credit — these two Arkansas schools have gotten the message. The learned people who govern these institutions have thus far resisted this latest reactionary over-correction from the legislature. They have rebuked the deadly bunny suit. We hope other Arkansas campuses will do likewise.