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New 'Open Carry' demonstration planned

Posted: December 4, 2013 - 7:32pm

Supporters of “constitutional” or “open carry” are finalizing plans for a demonstration in Conway on Dec. 21.

The “constitutional carry walk” is set for 11 a.m., with demonstrators walking from downtown to the Colton’s restaurant on Oak Street while openly carrying handguns. The walk had originally been planned to begin in Simon Park, but this was changed after organizers realized that a state law prohibits carrying weapons in municipal parks.

The demonstration, which has been planned largely on Facebook, comes in light of 20th Judicial District prosecutor Cody Hiland’s decision last month that openly carrying a handgun will not be prosecuted in his jurisdiction absent a reasonable suspicion that a person actually attempted to use the weapon unlawfully.

In April a piece of legislation introduced by state Rep. Denny Altes (R-Fort Smith) purporting to make “technical corrections” to Arkansas statutes relating to carrying a weapon was signed into law. To many, these “technical corrections” make Arkansas one of a handful of states that allow all legal handgun owners to “open carry” in most public places without any special permit or license.

Previously the statute, A.C.A. § 5-73-120, defined the offense of carrying a weapon illegally as having a handgun on their person or in their vehicle “readily available for use with a purpose to employ” the weapon against a person. Altes’ amendment changed this to “readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ” the weapon against a person.

According to Hiland, the addition of the words “to attempt to unlawfully employ” “fundamentally alters the character and nature of the statute.”

The amendment also redefines the word “journey” in the statute. A person on a “journey” may legally carry a weapon, and prior to the amendment “journey” was interpreted by courts, generally, as being on an extended trip outside of a person’s normal routine and whether a particular trip was a “journey” was a fact-intensive inquiry to determine by courts. The amendment now defines “journey” as travel outside one’s home county.

State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway) said on Wednesday that while the proposed amendment was moving through the House at the end of the previous Legislative Session discussion mostly concerned the amendment’s treatment of “journey.”

“However, as far as the impact [of the amendment], upon further consideration and how it apparently is being judged to basically open it up for anyone to openly carry, there was no intent that there was going to be completely open carry when that was passing through the Legislature,” Rapert said.

“If it’s an unintended consequence, then it is what it is,” Rapert said.

Rapert also said that, in his opinion, “at the end of the day there’s not one gun law that’s ever prevented someone that’s intending to do harm with a firearm from doing so . . . and all [certain laws restricting gun ownership] do is impede the individual law-abiding citizen from having a weapon with the same capabilities as the criminal’s to protect themselves.”

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion in July stating that he does “not interpret [the amendment] as authorizing so-called ‘open carry,’” Governor Mike Beebe has said that he didn’t think it legalized open carry when he signed it into law, and prosecutors and law enforcement officials differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiciton on whether “open carry” is legal.

Those who interpret the amended statute as allowing “open carry” or “constitutional carry” argue that the amendment does away with the court-created presumption that a person carrying a weapon has the intent to use it unlawfully against a person, and now only creates criminal liability for people who actually try to use the weapon they’re carrying unlawfully against a person.

Generally, those who interpret open or constitutional carry as still illegal believe that the presumptions of intent survive the amendment.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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majstoll
12
Points
majstoll 12/05/13 - 06:42 am
2
4

Open carry of handguns is legal in 45 states

See map at http://my.opencarry.org/?page_id=103

Learn more about open carry at OpenCarry.org

Learn about Arkansas new gun carry law at http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-washington-dc/mike-stollenwerk

arkansan
741
Points
arkansan 12/05/13 - 07:26 am
6
2

But....

It's still not legal in Arkansas.......

If you want to open care legally in Arkansas. Then get the laws changed. Making vague interpretations of current law doesn't make it legal.

faulknerwatchdog
580
Points
faulknerwatchdog 12/06/13 - 11:09 pm
2
4

New law

They DID change the law...in fact, they re-wrote the old existing law. Thanks for the advice though.

arkansan
741
Points
arkansan 12/07/13 - 12:19 pm
5
2

Not exactly

They changed a few words from the old one. Still a vague interpretation. Still not suppose to open carry in the county you live in. The amendment now defines “journey” as travel outside one’s home county.
Why don't you guys go parade down Little Rock streets and test your theory out if you feel it's a new law.

faulknerwatchdog
580
Points
faulknerwatchdog 12/08/13 - 06:16 pm
3
3

Lot of things are legal, but

Lot of things are legal, but that doesn't make them a good idea. Laws aren't about what's considered wise or unwise...they're about limiting the government's intrusion on our personal lives and preventing us from coercing others. Nobody is being coerced into carrying guns.

And if they "changed a few words from the old one," it effectively makes it a new law. Hence they heeded your advice, albeit preemptively.

arkansan
741
Points
arkansan 12/09/13 - 08:22 am
5
1

still....

The word change does not make it legal. Doesn't change the meaning of the law.

conwaygerl
3392
Points
conwaygerl 12/11/13 - 12:32 pm
2
2

fsdj

--Lot of things are legal, but that doesn't make them a good idea.--

Please tell us more about Obamacare.

faulknerwatchdog
580
Points
faulknerwatchdog 12/12/13 - 07:48 am
2
1

Obamacare is legal, even

Obamacare is legal, even though it was passed under false pretenses and against the will of a HUGE margin of Americans. But that's a different discussion.

mikeng1994
8196
Points
mikeng1994 12/12/13 - 09:59 am
2
2

She didn't say or imply that

She didn't say or imply that it was illegal. In fact i think she said it's legal.

faulknerwatchdog
580
Points
faulknerwatchdog 12/12/13 - 08:58 pm
1
1

Yes

I was simply agreeing with her.

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