LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Just over a week after the Uvalde mass shooting and days after he said he supports a conversation on new age restrictions for the purchase of assault rifles, Hutchinson held a “pen and pad” meeting with journalists tackling everything from the state’s surplus to a potential run for president.
Hutchinson’s main issue was school security and what to do in Arkansas following the tragedy in Texas. The governor was joined by Dr. Cheryl May, the director of the school safety commission. The two explained how Arkansas school safety measures began in 2018 when over the course of 9 months, 30 recommendations were made – most quickly adopted by lawmakers in the following legislative session.
Hutchinson is currently recommending the school safety commission reconvene to go over current measures, updates, and changes.
In addition, he’s also recommending part of the $1.473 billion surplus the state is expecting go to a grant program for school security, where districts would be able to receive funding to make improvements for their campuses.
It’s the responsibility of the state, he says, to protect students in the classroom.
“Right now,” Hutchinson said, “parents are certainly worried and concerned and are asking themselves the questions as to whether my child can safety go to school.”
In addition, Hutchinson said he doesn’t plan on making any legislative changes in Arkansas related to gun control, as he said he feels lawmakers need to be careful and patient to make sure whatever is implemented actually makes a difference. He added, access to guns won’t necessarily change based on laws if criminals want to find those weapons.
He also said mental health needs to be a factor, as well.
At the end of the meeting, Hutchinson addressed rumors that he would run for president, saying he was “testing the waters” of his candidacy and ultimately, “we’ll see.”