Act 746: Is Open Carry supported by this bill?Jul 17th, 2013 | By Editor | Category: Latest
Act 746 removes some restrictions on Arkansas gun laws, and makes some clarifications. The controversy surrounds whether it allows for, and supports Open Carry.
Section 2 of the rewritten and passed law states:
(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.”
Act 746 adds the phrase “to attempt to unlawfully employ” into the old law, and that is an important distinction, because this places the burden on the prosecution to prove that an openly carried handgun was done so with the purpose of employing it unlawfully, or with an unlawful intent.
Stan Witt, director of the Arkansas State Police, had this to say: “It’s kind of been twisted where that’s construed as open carry: You can just strap a gun on while you’re going down the road, and you can get out and go in a convenience store with your gun whether you have a concealed carry permit or not. That’s not true.” He added that anybody who tries to carry a gun openly in such a circumstance will be arrested.
So for all the hoopla, it appears Arkansas may still have a ways to go for Constitutional Carry. Will anyone test this law in the courts to get a clarification? We’ll see.
Arkansas Carry issued a statement that included the following: “Arkansas Carry suggests that citizens consult a lawyer before carrying a handgun in public after the act takes effect. Being a new law, Act 746 is untested by the courts, and law enforcement officials are not completely aware of the implications as it pertains to the carry of handguns. … prosecutors may construe the law differently.”
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