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Open Carry Debate Continues

BY MELANIE BUCK –

After Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge handed down her opinion clarifying the confusion of Act 746 in reference to the state’s open carry law, the Arkansas State Police released a statement that may have added more confusion. In Attorney General Rutledge’s opinion, she interpreted the law to mean that open carry in Arkansas is legal.

Her statement said, “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. But anytime law enforcement and citizens disagree on a law, we need to ensure there is clarity to protect citizens. I am committed to working with the General Assembly to clarify any confusion surrounding Act 746 and its intent.”

Based on Rutledge’s interpretation, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Mena Police Department released a statement saying that it would be their policy to not make an arrest solely for openly carrying a firearm, but to look at each instance on a case-by-case basis. The facts and circumstances of each case will be weighed carefully based on state law and criminal intent.

However, in a letter sent by Arkansas State Police Attorney Specialist Mary McLaurin in response to questions from two state representatives and one state senator, she said that Act 746 does not alleviate a concealed carry license holder from the requirement to carry their weapon concealed and if caught openly carrying their gun, they could risk losing their concealed carry permit. The only way, it seems, for a concealed carry permit holder to legally open carry their firearm would be to relinquish their current license or let it expire before openly carrying.

The debate of open carry is ongoing and lawmakers are trying to find a way to correct the issue. However, new legislation cannot be brought about until the next legislative session, which does not begin until January of 2017.

Local law enforcement said that while “Open Carry” is legal, there are still places where it is illegal to carry a firearm, such as at a school and they encourage everyone who plans on carrying a firearm to know where you can and cannot carry.

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5 comments

  1. When we ignore:
    U.S Constitution
    2nd Amendment:
    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    And our own:

    Arkansas Constitution
    Article 2 Section 5:
    “The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.”
    Then it gets real confusing.

  2. The statement by Arkansas State Police Attorney Specialist Mary McLaurin that “Act 746 does not alleviate a concealed carry license holder from the requirement to carry their weapon concealed and if caught openly carrying their gun, they could risk losing their concealed carry permit” seems ridiculous at best. I have to question where these people learned to read/understand English.

  3. Somebody needs to remind Arkansas State Police Attorney Specialist Mary McLaurin who they work for and who’s the boss! It’s obvious State Police Attorney Specialist Mary McLaurin is an activist along with others in Arkansas Law Enforcement and Arkansas judicial system.

    Mar McLaurin and those like her I find is obviously more dangerous than anyone can be by accident
    Therefore Mary McLaurin and others like her need to be removed from there positions.

  4. I think the entire mess, including the Attorney-General’s opinion, is academic and meaningless.

    The 2nd Amendment gives citizens the right to keep and BEAR arms.

    The 10th Amendment reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” That is to say that, unlike other countries where you only have the rights given to you by the government, here in America WE HAVE ALL RIGHTS NOT SPECIFICALLY FORBIDDEN BY THE GOVERNMENT!

    So the question is not, “does some law or opinion GIVE us the right to carry?” The question is “WHERE IS THE LAW THAT FORBIDS US TO CARRY?”

    Is there such a law? I don’t know of one. If you do, please enlighten us. If the ASP or anyone opposed to open carry knows of a LAW that FORBIDS open carry, I wish they would tell us WHAT LAW that is!

  5. “Rule 1.5 Exemptions – Authorized under other laws

    Any person legally authorized to carry a firearm under any Arkansas or federal law other than ACA §5-73-301 et seq is not bound by the Arkansas Concealed Handgun Carry License law or rules.”

    How does this not cover someone with a CHCL if they open carry?

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