Did Open Carry Just Pass In Arkansas?

Handgun Cycling

Handgun Cycling (Photo credit: dagnyg)

The Arkansas Legislature slipped a gun-bill under practically everyone’s radar and it was signed into law by the Governor. I had no clue of it’s existence till Nicholas Horton from The Arkansas Project broke the story here, he’s usually on top of everything so I’d check back if I were you. Now onto Act 746: AN ACT MAKING TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS CONCERNING THE POSSESSION OF A HANDGUN AND OTHER WEAPONS IN CERTAIN PLACES; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

From what I can understand “Journey” is finally defined, before it was ‘on a journey’ and left up for interpretation. If you leave the county you live in that now qualifies as a journey and you can have a loaded handgun in the vehicle with you without a permit as long you’re not going with the intent to shoot a certain person. Or to go to a shooting competition or target practice.

Here’s an interesting section:

(c) It is a defense to a prosecution permissible to carry a handgun under this section that if at the time of the act of carrying a weapon:
17 (1) The person is in his or her own dwelling, or place of business, or on property in which he or she has a possessory or proprietary
19 interest;

Open Carry on your property? A form of Constitutional Carry? The state gun rights group Arkansas Carry issued a press release here. We’ll see as this law is nitpicked and dissected.

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Open Carry Got Buried

Yesterday the Open Carry bill died in committee, and I could tell you what happened but Nicholas Horton was there and wrote this post here on it. However I will say that the main thing that affected it was Arkansas State Police Director Witt’s testimony. One quote that stood out is this quote:

We oppose this bill because of officer safety reasons. Often time officers encounter suspects with guns and they have to make split second decisions. Sometimes..those seconds are critical. If a person is allowed to open carry, we feel like that would cause an officer to have to pause to wonder if that person is legally carrying or not and that those critical seconds could cost an officer his life.

This argument is made every time this is brought up. When Oklahoma was debating their Open Carry law the head of their Highway Patrol made the same argument. It passed and guess what, nothing happened. How about the cops worry more about the gun that’s in someone’s hand than the one on the belt. Horton makes excellent counterpoints in his post to the Director’s comments.

In other news, the Faculty Campus Carry bill is on it’s way to the Governor for his signature. He said he’ll sign it, and their isn’t a emergency clause to automatically make it law, so we’ll see.