Arkansas: Governor Clarifies Legality of Open Carry

Arkansas: Governor Clarifies Legality of Open Carry

Dean Weingarten

Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In 2013, Arkansas passed Act 746 into law. Act 746 made Arkansas a Constitutional Carry state, by changing the state definition of what illegal carry of a weapon was.

Act 746 clarified the law to the effect that carrying a weapon was illegal only if the weapon was carried with the intent to commit a crime.

In 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson stated the law seemed clear to him. From 5newsonline.com, June 8th, 2015:

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) – Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas law does not prohibit openly carrying a handgun as long as the person with the gun doesn't intend to commit a crime.

“My take on the law is unless you have criminal intent, then there's not any prohibition,” Hutchinson, a Republican, told 5NEWS on Friday (June 5).

Now, in the last days of 2017, Governor Hutchinson has made clear his understanding of the law in a letter to the State Police.

As reported in arkansasonline.com:

“The open carry of a handgun is protected and allowed, so long as there is no intent to unlawfully employ the handgun,” Hutchinson said in his letter. In a footnote, he defined “open carry” as carrying a handgun in plain view without any type of license.

One person arrested for “disorderly conduct” for openly carrying a handgun, had his case dismissed in August of 2015.

From arkansasmatters.com:

Before August ended, Rutledge issued an official opinion stating that open carry is legal in The Natural State as long as the gun carrier doesn't attempt to unlawfully use their firearm.

On Tuesday, the case against Chambless was dropped, according to Bald Knob City Attorney Don Raney.

“I did nothing wrong and today the city of Bald Knob finally conceded to that fact,” Chambless said.

The wording of act 746 is clear.  Here is the relevant section.

5-73-120. Carrying a weapon.
(a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

I have placed the change in the law in bold.  Four words make all the difference in the world.

In the United States, everything that is not forbidden is allowed. That is the philosophy of law in a free society.

To those who claim a permit is needed to carry a weapon in Arkansas: Show us the statute that makes it illegal.

Progressives do not believe in natural rights. They believe that rights are something “allowed” by the state. Most coverage of Governor Hutchinsin's letter focuses on the “allowed” while ignoring the “protected”.  In Progressive philosophy, you are “allowed” to speak freely. You are “allowed” to go to church. You are “allowed” to carry a weapon.

The Constitution of the United States and the Declaration of Independence disagree. They state you have certain rights by the act of existing as a person.  People and governments may violate those rights, but when they do, the violation is illegitimate.

2017 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.

  • 5 thoughts on “Arkansas: Governor Clarifies Legality of Open Carry

    1. i agree with all of the posts, above…of which, i believe the one that’s most important is the one that encourages getting this passed into LAW during this Govenor’s tenure.
      GBA [God Bless America]

    2. i agree with all of the posts, above…of which, i believe the one that’s most important is the one that encourages getting this passed into LAW during this Govenor’s tenure.
      GBA [God Bless America]

    3. I wish Texas would get on the bandwagon. All of these other states passing us in furthering the rights of the individual is embarrassing.

    4. Well done, governor. BUT. what happens when someone else is governor and does not like this?

      Better get it passed into law by the legislature and signed into real law by this governor.

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