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Lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to delay for almost two years a proposed rule requiring that all of the state's concealed-carry instructors become certified in teaching a new "enhanced" permit or risk losing their instructor's licenses.

The decision by the Administrative Rules and Regulations Subcommittee of the Legislative Council came with little debate or questions. The new rules were largely seen as a cleanup of lingering issues created when lawmakers voted last year to allow some gun owners to take their weapons onto college campuses, into bars and churches and other public buildings, including the state Capitol.

That law, Act 562 of 2017, gave the expanded concealed-carry privileges to those who had passed up to eight hours of "enhanced" training. But the law almost immediately raised concerns in some quarters.

Within weeks of its passage, lawmakers had to scramble to write new exceptions for certain places, such as the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville's Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, after UA officials raised concerns about people with enhanced concealed-carry permits taking guns to sporting events. Gun-rights activists also found their own issues with the law, including a provision that required every concealed-carry instructor to become certified to teach the enhanced course.

Last year, several instructors went to the Capitol to express disagreement with the law, which they said did not go far enough in expanding concealed-carry rights. But when the Arkansas State Police drafted rules based on the law, they gave instructors six months to comply with the new requirements or risk losing their licenses.

That six-month period was originally set to end July 24, but the Rules Committee on Tuesday voted to delay the rule until Jan. 1, 2020. That will give lawmakers time to change the law itself, including the requirement that all instructors teach the course.

The Legislature's next general session is in January.

Metro on 06/13/2018

Print Headline: Enhanced-carry rule is holstered

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