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Arkansas legislator introduces bill to repeal non-existent gun permit requirement


Site Co-Founder
May 13, 2006
Fairfax County, Virginia, USA


Local gun owners divided on senator’s proposal

By Nathan Owens Staff Writer

This article was published today at 5:00 a.m.

'A proposed bill in the Arkansas State Legislature with the potential to allow the concealed and open carry of a handgun without a permit is a more divisive issue for gun owners than most might think. The bill is scheduled for discussion during the senate judiciary committee on Tuesday, March 7."


OpenCarry.org analysis:

"This bill would be fine if Arkansas did in fact require a permit to carry concealed or openly, which it does not," says Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder, OpenCarry.org.

In 2013 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."

Under this statute no crime is committed by carrying unlicensed handguns, openly or concealed without a permit, unless the person intends to use the gun with the purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

Moreover, the Arkansas concealed carry Act does not even set forth a penalty for carrying concealed handguns without a permit.

It's a basic rule of lenity that if there is no penalty specified, ambiguities in a criminal statute relating to prohibition and penalties be resolved in favor of the defendant if it is not contrary to legislative intent. It embodies a presupposition of law to resolve doubts in the enforcement of a penal code against the imposition of a harsher punishment. The courts while construing an ambiguous criminal statute that sets out multiple or inconsistent punishments should resolve the ambiguity in favor of the more lenient punishment.

It is a good idea though to have an Arkansas permit to carry concealed handguns in order to be able to (1) carry concealed in other states which accept the Arkansas concealed handgun permit, and (2) when carrying a handgun concealed or openly within 1,000 feet of a K-12 school (federal law purports, despite the Supreme Court Case striking down the federal Gun Free School Zones Act in US v. Lopez (1995), to require a state permit to carry firearms near schools, with several exceptions).
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