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The Quest For Open Carry in Arkansas

On Tuesday, February, 28, 2013, a bill to allow handguns to be openly carried in Arkansas made its way to the House Judiciary Committee.  Although the bill originally called for open carry of handguns with few restrictions, the version that was voted on by the House Judiciary Committee had been watered down to the point of simply asking for the open carry of handguns in non-incorporated areas (meaning outside city limits) and protecting Arkansas citizens with valid Concealed Carry Licenses (CCL) from being prosecuted in the event they inadvertently display their concealed carry weapon.   Despite these changes, the bill failed to make it out of committee with a vote of nine in favor and ten opposed.  The bill’s sponsor, Representative Sue Scott of Rogers, is committed to providing Arkansas citizens with the right to open carry, however she faces opposition from a variety of police departments and police lobbying organizations, in addition to House Speaker Davy Carter and Governor Mike Beebe.   However, while the right to open carry has not been granted, citizens of Arkansas who qualify still maintain the right to apply for and upon receipt carry a concealed handgun.   While there is substantial state law on this matter, the general statute that discusses requirements for a CCL is found at Arkansas Code Annotated  § 5-73-309 and can be found at

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