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This state would be in awful shape if the people who run the colleges and universities were as goofy as the ones who run the legislative branch of state government. They are not, though, and all across Arkansas, boards of trustees of public colleges and universities are opting out of a new state law that would allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus. Amazingly, the law permits the institutions to opt out. The NRA must have nodded off.

Among those choosing not to arm their faculty and staff are the two largest university systems, the University of Arkansas System, which encompasses five universities, five community colleges and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the Arkansas State University System, which encompasses Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and three community colleges. Other schools that have chosen not to carry are Arkansas Tech University at Russellville, the University of Central Arkansas at Conway, Henderson State University at Arkadelphia and Northwest Arkansas Community College at Bentonville.

We think it was Chancellor Joel Anderson of UALR who said he didn't understand how putting more guns on campus would make the campus safer. The NRA has tried many times to explain this paradox and failed every time.

(The NRA may be nursing hurt feelings this week. Besides the higher-education rebuff, the NRA saw, for the first time, an Arkansas politician being criticized, heavily and publicly, for caving in to the NRA. Such cave-ins are usually applauded, which is probably what U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor expected when he became one of only four Democratic senators to vote against a mild gun-control bill. Instead, a well-financed gun-control group gave Pryor the back of its hand in stinging television ads.)

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