By Dean Weingarten
ACT 746 changed the law in Arkansas so that carrying weapons is only illegal with the purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against another person.
The Arkansas AG Dustin McDaniel has written an opinion that open carry of firearms is not legal in the state, but does not quote any law to show where it is illegal. He simply claims that Act 746 does not make open carry legal. A successful open carry march was held in Fort Smith on August 25th 2013.
Hot Springs officials have said that they will not arrest open carriers when they are walking together, but that they might do so if the individual were alone.
Now, there has been another successful open carry walk, this time in Bryant, Arkansas.
I do not know of any person that has been arrested for open carry in Arkansas since Act 746 went into effect on the 16th of August, 2013.
On its face, the act appears to go further than merely making Arkansas a legal open carry state. Act 746 does not differentiate between concealed and open carry. What law would be quoted to charge someone with carrying a concealed weapon without a permit?
It is worth noting that Vermont, which was the only state with “constitutional carry” for many years, used very similar language in its law.
A person who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon, openly or concealed, with the intent or avowed purpose of injuring a fellow man, or who carries a dangerous or deadly weapon within any state institution or upon the grounds or lands owned or leased for the use of such institution, without the approval of the warden or superintendent of the institution shall be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than $200.00, or both.
I would not recommend that anyone be the test case in Arkansas. But it seems unlikely that AG McDaniel will be able to push his interpretation of Act 746 on the courts.
The reluctance of the authorities to arrest people who openly violate the AG’s interpretation speaks volumes.
c2013 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten;
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.