Arkansas passed ACT 746, which went into effect on August 16th of this year, (2013). The act effectively legalizes constitutional carry in Arkansas because it changes the definition of what constitutes the illegal carry of weapons. The old law didn’t require any intent; the new law makes carry of weapons illegal only if the carrier has the intent to use it illegally . . .
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, promptly issued an opinion that the new law does not allow open carry. The opinion is nicely dissected by Steve Jones here. Essentially, the AG dodges the real issue, never addressing the key part of the law which deals with intent. In order to educate the public about the new law, Second Amendment supporters in Arkansas have been holding open carry marches, defiantly carrying in public with the cooperation of the police to show that the law has, in fact, been changed.
The act is concerning county prosecutors across the state. The act says:
“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.
Faulkner County Prosecuting Attorney Cody Highland told Channel 7 News that there is a concern law enforcement could have issues proving someone with a gun is intending to use it “unlawfully.”
“The law as passed makes it very difficult if not impossible to ascertain the intent of someone who is attempting to unlawfully deploy a weapon against another person so the practical effect is a substantial change in the law,” Highland said.
It’s worth noting that the state that has the oldest uninterrupted exercise of constitutional carry in the nation, Vermont, has similar wording in its law concerning the carrying of weapons.
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.
Constitutional carry is legal and now being recognized in Arkansas. It is just happening gradually.
©2013 by Dean Weingarten of Gun Watch: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.