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Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- In 2019, Arkansas passed gun law reform for silencers, other NFA items, and cut concealed handgun permit fees in half.
The State of Arkansas has passed a significant reform of suppressor law and state law regarding National Firearms Act firearms generally. SB 400 passed the Senate on 6 March 2019, 29 to 6. It passed the House on the 13th of March 2019, 75 to 12. It was signed into law by Governor Hutchinson on March 19, 2019.
Four legislators were prominent in leading the fight to pass SB 400 and reform Arkansas gun laws. In the Senate, they were Senators Bob Ballinger and Trent Garner. In the House, they were Representatives Justin Gonzales and Jim Dotson.
SB 400, now Act 495, eliminates the Arkansas ban on silenced (suppressed) firearms. The old law made it illegal to use, possess, make, repair, sell or otherwise deal in suppressed firearms. Senator Ballinger is reported to have told the Senate that there were about 10,000 people who owned suppressors in Arkansas, under the National Firearms Act (NFA).
SB 400 repealed the prohibition on silenced firearms in its entirety. The old law made suppressed firearms prohibited weapons. It was technically illegal for the owner of a legal silencer to attach it to a firearm.
Silencer/suppressor law in Arkansas has been repealed, except for federal law under the NFA. If the NFA law is reformed, there will not be a conflict with Arkansas law.
Also, SB 400 makes it clear that other National Firearm Act items, such as short-barreled shotguns, short barreled rifles, and fully automatic guns, can be legally owned under the NFA rules, in Arkansas.
Arkansas is a Constitutional Carry state. A person does not need to have a permit to carry a pistol. But permits are useful for reciprocity in other states. Arkansas is a “Shall Issue” state. The state issues permit to people who meet the objective criteria for the permit.
In this session of the legislature, Arkansas cut the fees for a concealed carry permit in half. First-time permit fees were reduced from $100 to $50, for people 65 or older, the fee was reduced from $50 to $25. The Arkansas permit is recognized by 37 other states. The bill to cut the permit fees was SB 17. From arkleg.state.ar.us:
SECTION 1. Arkansas Code § 5–73–311(a)(2), concerning the fees for a license to carry a concealed handgun, is amended to read as follows:
(2) A nonrefundable license fee of one hundred dollars ($100) fifty dollars ($50.00), except that the nonrefundable license fee is fifty dollars ($50.00) twenty–five dollars ($25.00) if the applicant is sixty–five31(65) years of age or older;
The renewal fee was reduced from $35 to $25.
Professor John Lott has shown that increased fees reduce the number of people willing to obtain carry permits. Similarly, reduced fees increased carry permit participation rates.
With the decrease in Arkansas permit fees, the percentage of adults with carry permits in Arkansas is likely to increase dramatically in the next few years.
As of 2018, Arkansas was already well above the national average, with 10.4% of the adult population having a concealed handgun carry permit. The state with the highest participation rate is Alabama, with 22.11% of adults having a permit.
Arkansas legislators killed bills which would have expanded the list of prohibited possessors in Arkansas and would have allowed a person to be stripped of Second Amendment rights without due process.
- Killed Senate Bill 621 would have allowed courts to require people to surrender their firearms to law enforcement or have them seized, based on statements made by a petitioner in an ex parte proceeding — before any formal hearing with the opportunity to be represented by counsel and present counter-evidence — and even though they may not have committed or even threatened to commit any unlawful or violent act. Someone could be stripped of their Second Amendment rights without due process, without being taken into custody for any criminal offense or without being required to undergo evaluation for treatment by a mental health professional.
- Killed House Bill 1655 that would expand the list prohibited persons under Arkansas state law to include people who are (and would continue to be) under no federal firearm prohibition and who currently possess firearms lawfully.
Most of the postitive efforts to reform gun laws are happening in the states with the support of the NRA-ILA.
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.