Arkansas Governor: Open Carry Is Legal! Unless It’s Not. Unless It Is.

(courtesy thv11,com)

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has finally brought some clarity – but not much – to the Natural State’s open carry law. The right to keep and bear arms openly was thrown into confusion by Act 746 of 2013. Then Attorney General Dustin McDaniel declared that the law – allowing permit-less open and concealed carry – only applies to people carrying firearms while “on a journey across or through Arkansas.” This weekend, Governor Hutchinson pronounced that . . .

Arkansas law does not prohibit openly carrying a handgun as long as the person with the gun doesn’t intend to commit a crime.

Well that’s certainly clear enough! Only Hutchinson also advises Arkansawyers to check with their local prosecutor first. [Click here for his statement.] So the right to open carry depends on prosecutorial discretion, which varies according to jurisdiction? No thanks.

Yesterday, three Arkansas legislators agreed. They sent a letter to AR AG Leslie Rutledge requesting a formal opinion on whether or not open carry is legal in their state.

Rutledge, a Republican, told 5NEWS on June 1 she believes state law allows for open carry.

“I interpret it to mean an individual may carry so long as he or she does so without the intent to unlawfully employ it against another person,” she said in a prepared statement.

However, Woods told 5NEWS on Wednesday that he and the other two legislators want a formal opinion because a lot of confusion exists over whether open carry is legal . . .

Judd Deere, the attorney general’s director of communications, said she has received the letter and will respond. He said Rutledge attempts to respond to such requests within about 30 days.

This looks like a win in the making. Fingers crossed.

comments

  1. avatar JFrame says:

    One word: “Spineless”

  2. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    Or they could just clear up the language with a bill. Sounds kind of like their job.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Not the case today. NO legislation will withstand the lawless/unconstitutional agenda of activist gov’t lawyers or judges.

  3. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    How can there be so much confusion? Sounds like Hutchinson simply doesn’t want to deal with perceived heat for enforcing the law as-written.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      A governor doesn’t have diddly squat in authority to decide what the Attorney General does.

      A Governor may control the state PoPo and perhaps can tell them what their law enforcement priorities are. No such authority over County or Local cops or County attorneys.

      His main impact comes from using the “bully pulpit”. He might hold a press conf and announce that any competent Attorney General could issue this “opinion” within 3days as the issue is of critical Constitutional important. Not many Gov would challenge the Attorney General is such a manner though.

  4. avatar TX Gungal says:

    Governor Hutchinson, unless you want the perception of your state to return to being a backwoods hillbilly hick state how about you put on your big boy pants and get this poorly worded law amended. What the hell does this mean? “may carry so long as he or she does so without the intent to unlawfully employ it against another person,”

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      “…does so without the intent to unlawfully employ it against another person…”

      Laugh…do I see an affirmative defense there…?

      That’s too funny!

      That in the same league as the ‘Joe Biden shotgun defense’ “fire both barrels into the air”.

    2. avatar Stinkeye says:

      No offense intended to any Arkansans out there, but “return”? When did the perception of Arkansas as a “backwoods hillbilly hick state” end in the first place?

    3. avatar Will says:

      We have never not been a backwoods hillbilly hick state.

  5. avatar pres stone says:

    Arkansawyers should be Arkansans if you meant Arkansas inhabitants.

    1. avatar BlueBronco says:

      Exactly.

    2. avatar Brett says:

      Perhaps he meant Arkansas Lawyers…

      1. avatar BlueBronco says:

        You mean like Slick Willy and his wife The Wicked Witch of the East?

        1. avatar Scottlac says:

          He imported her from Chicago. She was never a native.

    3. avatar Jon F says:

      Eh, I have heard Arkansawyer quite a bit. It’s an older designation, but not incorrect.

  6. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    Texas used to have a similarly confusing law that was created after the War Between the States, thanks to years of carpetbagger government. In effect it said you could have a loaded handgun in your possession (not carry or conceal) if you were traveling. Traveling was interpenetrated to mean crossing one or more county lines with the intention of staying overnight. Florida was slightly better at the time with a law that said a gun had to be readily inaccessible. This was usually (but not always) interpreted to mean “two moves” were required to use it, such as 1) open the glove box, 2) load the firearm), or 1) open the glove box, 2) remove the pistol from its holster. Such laws serve only to confuse the public, law enforcement, and the judiciary, to the sole benefit of attorneys.

    1. avatar Another Robert says:

      It was even worse than that–“travelling” eventually came to mean whatever the local prosecutor–or defense attorney– could persuade a jury that it meant. And then the Lege wrote it into the law that anyone who had a gun in his car was presumed to be “travelling”–but if a prosecutor wanted to try, he could attempt to overcome the presumption. Finally, they got around to writing the explicit “gun in car is OK” provision into the law. Just writing this down has made me a bit more circumspect about criticizing Arkansas just now.

  7. avatar pres stone says:

    from everything i have seen it is already considered legal by nearly all counties. we had an issue the other day of a guy carrying into a movie theater, people got scared and asked for a refund. he was not asked to leave and no trouble ensued. they put the criminal intent part in so if they see someone open carrying and lurking around a parking lot for hours, he’s probably looking to rob someone. they are just covering their asses but atleast he does say he views open carry as legal so us Arkansans see this as a win and have for sometime now.

  8. avatar Mike In Arkansas says:

    As an Arkansas resident who does not carry nor care if someone carries concealed or open I do not see the confusion.
    I have posted the paragraph of ACT 746 which seems to cause confusion in some. Notice it says Unlawfully employ. It also
    states on or about his or her person. I know the argument seems to be about open carry, but on or about means open or concealed.
    This clearly allows the carrying of a firearm in Arkansas
    unless you are a felon or under age.

    ACT 746

    SECTION 2
    . Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 is amended to read as follows:
    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.

    1. avatar Karl says:

      I don’t know how you can make this anymore clear. This sounds like a pretty good way of allowing carry without a permit.

      1. avatar Mike In Arkansas says:

        I could not agree with you more Karl. Laws never give anything, only take away. There is no law in Arkansas that says if you can not carry a firearm if you are legally allowed.

      2. avatar CM says:

        The 2A was written pretty clearly yet here we are..

        1. avatar Out_Fang_Thief says:

          Yet, we have Ivy League edumacated lawyers, who can’t correctly interpret, or comprehend the layman-like simplicity of the 27 words in the 2nd Amendment.

  9. avatar racer88 says:

    Arkansans! 😛

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