Earlier this year the Arkansas legislature created an “enhanced” concealed carry permit that allows permit holders to carry a firearm on college campuses and in government buildings.
Now applicants and instructors are getting a first look at the Arkansas State Police’s draft of the new licensing rules.
“I don’t know that any of us really knew what to expect other than it was going to be some classroom time and some range time,” Nathan House, a concealed carry license instructor, told KSFM. “I think…at least at first reading it looks like a pretty good program that they’ve thought through.”
The bill’s author, Representative Charlie Collins, emphasized the importance of additional training for both applicants and instructors.
“This training is going to be more focused on what do you do if you are in a sensitive area and God forbid a bad guy pulls out a gun and starts shooting and also if you are in an area like that and law enforcement arrives on the scene,” he told KSFM.
“If they know a good guy or a good gal with a gun could stop their plan before it’s finished, long before law enforcement arrives, I think some of these crazy killers are going to say ‘I’m not going to murder on an Arkansas campus today,’” he said.
To obtain an enhanced license, applicants must complete six hours of classroom work and two hours of range work. Unlike a standard concealed carry permit, the enhanced license also requires applicants to pass a live-fire drill test.
The live-fire drill requires applicants to take shots from 5, 7, and 15 yards at varying levels of speed. Each applicant must earn a score of 35/50 or 70%, and can only retry the course three times. If they aren’t able to complete the course after the third attempt they must wait six months before reapplying.
The classroom work is also designed to ensure that enhanced license holders are prepared to handle threats effectively. It includes lessons on techniques for weapon retention and how to interact with law enforcement in an active shooter situation.
Instructors will be required to pass a test within the first three months after the rules are finalized in order to offer training for the enhanced license.
A number of additional states also offer enhanced concealed carry permits. In each instance, permit holders are required to complete additional training but are also given additional privileges. In some instances these permits are designed to allow holders greater reciprocity in other states, so they can travel out of state more easily with their firearm.
The National Rifle Association supported the Arkansas bill that created the new enhanced license, though some argue that requiring additional training to carry a firearm in specific locations violates the Second Amendment right to “bear” arms.
Enhanced permits should be available in Arkansas in early next year.