University gun bill has church complication, UA faculty member writes | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 13, 2017

University gun bill has church complication, UA faculty member writes

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 at 7:22 AM

click to enlarge Charlie Collins
  • Charlie Collins
Rep. Charlie Collins' bill to mandate that universities allow staff with permits to carry concealed weapons on campus will be before a Senate committee Wednesday and one opponent, John Pijanoski, chair of the Campus Faculty Senate at the University of Arkansas, has written about another problem with the legislation (apart from near universal campus opposition.)

Among other contradictions in law it will create is a question about application to places of worship. Under existing law, churches may choose to allow guns on premises or not. Campuses all over Arkansas have buildings dedicated as places of worship. Does the college carry bill override that self-determination?

Pijanoski's letter to the Senate committee and Gov. Asa Hutchinson:

House Bill 1249, known as the campus carry bill, would create contradictions in state law, confusion among residents and police, and threaten to strip churches and places of worship of legal rights they currently enjoy in the state of Arkansas. These unintended consequences are a result of the authors of House Bill 1249 not fully understanding the extensive role places of worship play on college campuses throughout Arkansas. Regardless of how one feels about the merits of campus carry - it is in the best interest of the state to vote no on HB 1249 to avoid creating conflicting laws and preserving the rights currently enjoyed by churches and places of worship.

Currently The Church Protection Act provides individual places of worship with the authority to decide whether to allow concealed handguns and who could carry them. There are several instances where places of worship have a dedicated physical presence on Arkansas campuses. There are several other religious organizations that meet the federal definition of a place of worship and use shared campus facilities as their regular places of worship. HB 1249 did not account for places of worship on college campuses and so it is silent on this issue. If passed into law there will immediately be contradictory laws in place - HB 1249 and The Church Protection Act.

Furthermore, resolving this conflict will require the legislature, or the courts, to define what constitutes a “church” and a “place of worship” which is an endeavor that has not been publicly discussed with the citizens of Arkansas and the state’s religious institutions. The implications of defining a place of worship would likely include creating limits on what it means to worship. If not carefully considered this would result in an uproar among religious leaders and churchgoers to have their voices heard on that legislation.

The University of Arkansas Fayetteville campus alone has 46 religious organizations registered on campus, and 9 with a dedicated physical building that has been assigned a Campus Building Code.

For all of these reasons, I ask that the Arkansas State Senate and the Governor reject House Bill 1249 on the grounds that it creates conflicts with current law and fails to adequately grasp and account for the role of worship on our college campuses.

The University of Arkansas Fayetteville Campus Map can be found here

The following building codes and building names on the University of Arkansas map are dedicated to places of worship:

ABCM - Baptist Collegiate Ministry FIOR - Fayetteville Institute of Religion - LDS
ICNA - Islamic Center of Northwest Arkansas
LSCT - Lutheran Student Center
MART - St. Martin’s Episcopal University Center
PDCM - United Campus Ministry (Presbyterian Church, Christian Church, Disciples of Christ)
RFCS - The Church of Christ Student Center
STAQ - St. Thomas Aquinas University Parish
UUFF - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

The list of 46 religious organizations that meet in shared campus spaces can be found here.

Respectfully Submitted,
John Pijanowski
Fayetteville, AR
The gun is, unfortunately, a legislative sacrament. Thou Shalt Not Deter Gun Accessibility is the 11th Commandment.

Tags: , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (7)

Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-7 of 7

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • LR discussion set on cuts in state aid for disabled

    The Center for Arkansas Legal Services and  Legal Aid of Arkansas will have a public meet from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at the downtown library at 100 S. Rock on cuts in the state-run Medicaid program for home-care for people with disabilities.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • Legislators set 'town hall' on Little Rock School District

    A group of Little Rock legislators (not all of them, only Democrats so far) has organized a town hall meeting on the Little Rock School District from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Old Supreme Court chamber at the state Capitol. We propose a few questions.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • Another bank acquisition for Arvest

    Arvest Bank, the Walton banking enterprise, is acquiring Bear State Financial, led by Richard Massey, for $391 million, all cash. Bear State, based in Arkansas, has 42 branches and other operations in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
    • Aug 22, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Arkansas: Land of .......

    Welcome to Arkansas: Land of cowardly politicians, discriminatory laws, inhumane turkey drops and lots and lots of Trump voters.
    • Oct 8, 2016
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

  • Troubles mount for Sen. Jake Files. Maybe others, too

    Sen. Jakes Files has serious problems, based on an FBI affidavit filed Monday in Fort Smith. One new question is how many other legislators have problems based on spending of state surplus money?
  • Artist Dale Chihuly's court battle

    Dale Chihuly, the visionary artist whose work is currently on exhibit at Crystal Bridges, is the subject of a New York Times feature today about an ongoing court battle and the condition of the 75-year-old artist.
  • Confederate memories of a Southern boy

    Confederate memories. How a Son of the South went wrong — or right, depending on your point of view.
  • Another bank acquisition for Arvest

    Arvest Bank, the Walton banking enterprise, is acquiring Bear State Financial, led by Richard Massey, for $391 million, all cash. Bear State, based in Arkansas, has 42 branches and other operations in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation