Arkansas Attorney General Says Open Carry Is Now ‘OK’ — But Police May Stop You

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It used to be a crime for an upstanding Arkansas citizen to openly carry a firearm within the state, but Attorney General Leslie Rutledge says that’s no longer the case.

It all started on August 22, when Richard Chambless was arrested for open carrying a handgun. Chambless was convicted and sentenced to a year of probation and $2,160 in fines, but the Natural State native argued he was lawfully open carrying. In the end, Rutledge agreed with him.

According to pre-2013 Arkansas law, 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…”

However, when Act 746 was passed in 2013, a second criterion was added to the existing law. Now, a person is only unlawfully carrying a weapon if he or she possesses said weapon and simultaneously has the intent “to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun… as a weapon.”

Since Chambless had no intent, he hadn’t broken any laws.

Rutledge agreed with the Chambless assessment, but she wasn’t all too happy about it. The Attorney General took to Facebook to discourage open carry and warned that while it may be legal, it’s also a reason for police to detain you.

“[A]ny person who carries a handgun should be aware that a law enforcement officer might lawfully inquire into that person’s purpose,” said Rutledge.

So if you’re in Arkansas and plan to legally open carry a handgun, be prepared to be stopped by the police.

Here is a breakdown, county by county, on how police will respond to an open carrier, courtesy of KATV:

Pulaski County:

Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office: up to deputies’ discretion to ask your intent while open carrying

North Little Rock Police: will stop everyone

Little Rock Police: probable cause

Saline County:

Saline County Sheriff’s Office: will stop everyone

Bryant and Benton Police: officer’s discretion

Faulkner County:

Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office: probable cause

Conway Police: probable cause

Garland County:

Garland County Sheriff’s Office: did not respond to KATV inquiries

Hot Springs Police: waiting to hear from prosecutor’s office for further instruction, but you could be stopped by an officer

Jefferson County:

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office: probable cause

Pine Bluff Police: probable cause

All police departments and sheriff’s offices KATV spoke with on Monday made it clear that they will respond to all 911 calls made about a person open carrying.

Video below highlights the issue just before Rutledge’s decision was released:

(This article was submitted by freelance writer Brent Rogers)

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Tim Lee May 28, 2016, 2:59 pm

    Everyone thinks is act 746 is only about open carry but no one realized that if anyone takes the time to research and the wording of act 746 it actually gives the people of Arkansas constitutional carry which gives everyone the right to open or concealed carry without having to pay for a concealed carry permit. At the same time there was another bill was presented for open carry which failed. I may just be a redneck hillbilly with only a high school education but if you check the definition of constitutional carry and researched of existing states Arkansas is one due to act 746. Why do everyone think you have to pay for something that was a right given to us a thing called the U.S. constitution.

  • John Ess September 9, 2015, 10:12 am

    It looks to me like Barney Fyfe is alive and well in the state of Arkansas. Watch what you say to “Barney” while you are in Arkansas or you will be shot, jailed, or have your legally owned and displayed firearm taken from you. In today’s world, the United States Constitution, and your legal rights will be infringed upon unless you are wealthy enough to fight for them in court. Apparently, in Arkansas, it is ok for the police to “profile” and detain a person just because he or she displays a firearm in a legal manner. Thomas Jefferson was once quoted as saying “Too much government is worse than no government at all”

  • chuck September 9, 2015, 12:06 am

    I believe in Arkansas the law is if you are pulled over or being checked by a game warden and want your I D you have to give your concealed weapons permit first to the officer then drivers liscense or ID if you don’t then it officers discretion if he or she wants to give you a ticket I live in Northeast Arkansas.

  • Disgusted September 8, 2015, 9:23 pm

    I am amending my previous post – reasonable suspicion could be used for justification to contact a person open carrying, but it would be a stretch to justify more than a brief interrogatory.

    See below, copied from the Farlex Free Dictionary.

    Probable Cause
    Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime, thereby warranting his or her prosecution, or that a Cause of Action has accrued, justifying a civil lawsuit.
    Probable cause is a level of reasonable belief, based on facts that can be articulated, that is required to sue a person in civil court or to arrest and prosecute a person in criminal court. Before a person can be sued or arrested and prosecuted, the civil plaintiff or police and prosecutor must possess enough facts that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the claim or charge is true.
    The probable cause standard is more important in Criminal Law than it is in Civil Law because it is used in criminal law as a basis for searching and arresting persons and depriving them of their liberty. Civil cases can deprive a person of property, but they cannot deprive a person of liberty. In civil court a plaintiff must possess probable cause to levy a claim against a defendant. If the plaintiff does not have probable cause for the claim, she may later face a Malicious Prosecution suit brought by the defendant. Furthermore, lack of probable cause to support a claim means that the plaintiff does not have sufficient evidence to support the claim, and the court will likely dismiss it.
    In the criminal arena probable cause is important in two respects. First, police must possess probable cause before they may search a person or a person’s property, and they must possess it before they may arrest a person. Second, in most criminal cases the court must find that probable cause exists to believe that the defendant committed the crime before the defendant may be prosecuted.
    There are some exceptions to these general rules. Police may briefly detain and conduct a limited search of a person in a public place if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime. Reasonable suspicion is a level of belief that is less than probable cause. A police officer possesses reasonable suspicion if he has enough knowledge to lead a reasonably cautious person to believe that criminal activity is occurring and that the individual played some part in it. In practice this requirement means that an officer need not possess the measure of knowledge that constitutes probable cause to Stop and Frisk a person in a public place. In any case, an officer may not arrest a person until the officer possesses probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime.

  • Disgusted September 8, 2015, 9:13 pm

    Probable cause is the only standard that will stand the test of time. Probable Cause is needed for ANY officer to make a contact with a person for enforcement reasons. Reasonable suspicion isn’t enough. Note to top ranked LEO’s.. read your law books before making statements.

    • Keith February 10, 2017, 11:54 am

      It actually is reasonable suspicion. Probable cause is the legal standard to make an arrest. You should read a law book before you make a statement.

      As to the law in question it does not establish open carry or anything else. The carrying a weapon statute has always had an exception for a “journey” but no definition as to what a “journey” is. All Act 746 does is establish a statutory definition of what a “journey” is instead of dealing with case law in some cases going back to the 1830’s and what the judge and/or prosecutor personally want to decide is a “journey.”

  • Kalashnikov Dude September 8, 2015, 12:39 pm

    I am really not understanding how this works. The highest law of our land tells the people of Arkansas the same thing it tells me in Arizona. That is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”. And now Arkansas top lawyer says that’s true, but you still mat be accosted by “law enforcement” in some kind of warped, attempt to suppress our 2nd Amendment? WTF is your problem people? Our governments, state, local and federal all have an agenda to take full control of every single aspect of our lives, and dole out fulfillment of our nations values and mores, security, and happiness at their discretion. That’s always been the objective of governments. Our founding fathers knew this way back then. That’s why we have a US Constitution. And that’s why it could not be ratified until the Bill Of Rights was also formed. People of the United States, including Arkansas, stop with this and take your rights as free men do. Not served warmed over and watered down the way these freedom hating, traitorous usurpers keep shoving down your throats. Stand up and be men instead of embarrassing yourselves, me and our nation! You all can give away your rights, but you will not give mine up. Nor my family, friends, or neighbors. Be a part of the solution fools…….

  • Dave Hicks September 8, 2015, 11:48 am

    I live in ARKANSAS Yes this is the state that gave you the Clinton’s and their not coming back.If you open carry in this state ( I do ) do it in a respectful way. No Police Officer has ever said anything about me carrying a firearm. Albeit I do live in a very low populated county The deputy Sheriff lives down the road and went to high school with my sons It would be fine with me if none of you came to ARKANSAS ,you wouldn’t like it ,for a lot of reasons.

    • Larry September 8, 2015, 1:08 pm

      Right you are! While I conceal carry, even in the under populated NE area of the state, your right to open carry is a step forward to our state fully recognizing that our right to self protection is God given & simply enumerated by the Second Amendment.

  • charmolly September 8, 2015, 8:28 am

    “From the state that gave you Bill Clinton…”

    And, a balanced budget.

    • Larry September 8, 2015, 1:05 pm

      And now a nearly 100% Conservative State government, thanks to voters like me!
      Carry concealed. Don’t give the thugs the advantage to know you are armed!

    • SteveA September 8, 2015, 1:24 pm

      Nope, the national debt increased every single year of the Clinton presidency.

    • BUH July 22, 2016, 10:51 am

      I see you only know the leftist talking point, you poor ignorant fool.
      it was the Republican controlled House & Senate that balanced the budget, and forced it onto Bill. clinton tried to fight it at first but gave in, and signed it into law, probably cause he got preoccupied with using cigars on interns in the oval office, and lied about it to us and the world… just as hillary has been lying about everything
      at least bill finally confessed, after monicas jiz stained blue dress came out into public.
      Hillary has been proven to have lied many times over and for many years and she still denies that she lied and always blames others in true clinton fashion. and the dumbest of the dumb voters ( democrats) will still vote for her.
      when republicans lie and or break the laws, we get rid of them. When democrats lie and cheat and break the laws, they get promoted. just sickening to see

      • GTL November 8, 2016, 1:43 am

        Thank you BUH for your post. It’s a shame that the dumocrats refuse to open their eyes. One would think that after a 8 years of democratic bs even the dumocrats would want a change.

  • silvestris September 7, 2015, 8:00 pm

    A lot of folks will be harassed when carrying openly. I prefer to carry concealed. Those who decide to carry for the world to see should be polite, smile at others and be compliant to police officers. The police are under a lot of pressure these days. Don’t carry a chip on your shoulder while carrying a gun on your side, concealed or open. And watch your six for danger or someone who might try to disarm you.

  • rouge1 September 7, 2015, 5:04 pm

    No Don its like if you have a fishing pole the gsme warden will ask you for your fishing license.

    • BUH July 22, 2016, 11:05 am

      where in the Constitution does it say you have to have a gun license?
      how can you show what you don’t have? do any states even issue a gun “license”
      how come other rights are free and some even subsidized by gov. but it’s ok to make us pay to carry a gun, open or concealed?
      nobody makes gays or illegal aliens pay a yearly fee to say what they want to say in public or restrict them and tell them where they can and cant say what they want. you hide behind the 1st amendment of the constitution then, but when it comes to the 2nd amendment it’s ok to regulate it out of existence, cause you have decided you don’t like it, and because you don’t like it nobody should.

  • Don September 7, 2015, 9:53 am

    If you are fishing a game warden will ask for your fishing license.If you are carrying they will ask for your license.

  • SCPistolero September 7, 2015, 8:47 am

    This is beyond stupid, remind me not to go there.

  • DRAINO September 1, 2015, 5:57 pm

    I think probable cause should be the way to go. Otherwise it sounds like profiling to me. Just because a person is carrying a firearm, they are up to no good? ….. you are looking to commit a crime?? Hmm…kinda stomps all over the “innocent till proven guilty” theory, huh? I realize not all cops are this way, but many cops want people to be on their side and help prevent crime…..so it seems when they ask for the publics help at times(and I’m all for it)….and yet they want to treat the public in general as though they are the enemy…..?? I realize the position the cops are in, I assure you, so don’t go there with me. While I am all for helping cops, I have an issue with suddenly giving up all my rights just because a policeman is around.

    But I digress….Yes, this will create a colossal waste of time and manpower. Do we stop everyone who is driving a car just to see if they are planning to do something illegal? Do we stop them just to check if they have a license? NO….there has to be probable cause or in the commission of a crime….otherwise its harassment.

  • Aaron September 1, 2015, 1:35 pm

    From the state that gave you Bill Clinton…

  • SuperG September 1, 2015, 11:47 am

    This is kind of retarded. It’s legal but the police will harass you. How does that benefit anybody? It wastes everybody’s time, and gives a cop an excuse not to do real police work. Well, I should say a lot of cops, as backup will be needed, then a supervisor will show up, then his supervisor will show up, etc. Then they’ll huddle in one big cluster-fuck pow-wow until they allow the citizen to go on his/her way.

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