Arkansas Governor Clarifies Legality of Open Carry

In 2013, Arkansas passed Act 746 into law. Act 746 made Arkansas a Constitutional Carry state, by changing the state definition of what illegal carry of a weapon was.

Act 746 clarified the law to the effect that carrying a weapon was illegal only if the weapon was carried with the intent to commit a crime.

In 2015, Governor Asa Hutchinson stated the law seemed clear to him. From, June 8th, 2015:

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) – Gov. Asa Hutchinson says Arkansas law does not prohibit openly carrying a handgun as long as the person with the gun doesn’t intend to commit a crime. 

“My take on the law is unless you have criminal intent, then there’s not any prohibition,” Hutchinson, a Republican, told 5NEWS on Friday (June 5).

Now, in the last days of 2017, Governor Hutchinson has made clear his understanding of the law in a letter to the State Police.   As reported in

“The open carry of a handgun is protected and allowed, so long as there is no intent to unlawfully employ the handgun,” Hutchinson said in his letter. In a footnote, he defined “open carry” as carrying a handgun in plain view without any type of license.

One person arrested for “disorderly conduct” for openly carrying a handgun, had his case dismissed in August of 2015. From

Before August ended, Rutledge issued an official opinion stating that open carry is legal in The Natural State as long as the gun carrier doesn’t attempt to unlawfully use their firearm.

On Tuesday, the case against Chambless was dropped, according to Bald Knob City Attorney Don Raney.

“I did nothing wrong and today the city of Bald Knob finally conceded to that fact,” Chambless said.

The wording of act 746 is clear.  Here is the relevant section.

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.

I have placed the change in the law in bold.  Four words make all the difference in the world.

In the United States, everything that is not forbidden is allowed. That is that philosophy of law in a free society.

To those who claim that a permit is needed to carry a weapon in Arkansas: Show us the statute that makes it illegal.

Opponents of an armed population claim they were snookered into voting for the law. They believed it was a simple wording change that did not change the meaning. They had to pass the law to read it, to misquote Nancy Pelosi. It was only a four word change.  If they believe the majority wishes the law changed, they can repeal it.  They have not done so.

Progressives do not believe in natural rights. They believe that rights are something “allowed” by the state. Most coverage of Governor Hutchinsin’s letter focuses on the “allowed” while ignoring the “protected”.  In Progressive philosophy, you are “allowed” to speak freely. You are “allowed” to go to church. You are “allowed” to carry a weapon.

The Constitution of the United States, and the Declaration of Independence disagree. They state you have certain rights by the act of existing as a person.  People and governments may violate those rights, but when they do, the violation is illegitimate.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

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