Starting next month Arkansas will join Vermont, Alaska, Wyoming and Arizona as a “Constitutional Carry” state. This means that no permit or license will be required to carry weapons, either openly or concealed for lawful purposes.
Arkansas law will handle people carrying guns the same way many state laws handle possession of “tools of burglary”. Normally you can get away with carrying common hand tools anywhere you otherwise have a right to be. But if you are caught trying to use them in an attempt at breaking and entering or even trespassing you can be charged with a crime based on obvious intent to use that tool in furtherance of a crime. This is an excellent way to deal with people carrying guns. As long as you are not harming, or attempting to harm others with a weapon then possession alone should not be a crime.
The burden of proof has shifted
The burden of proof has shifted to the accuser (the state) who now has to prove that you are up to no good rather than you simply have the POTENTIAL for crime based on ready access to a weapon.
Here is the official press release from Arkansascarry.com:
“In July, 2013, Arkansas will become the fifth state in the United States to enact “Constitutional Carry” into law. Act 746 of the 2013 General Assembly was signed into law by Governor Mike Beebe on April 4th, 2013, after receiving only one “nay” vote from the legislature.
Constitutional Carry occurs in a state when no laws exist that generally restrict the carry of handguns (open or concealed) for self-defense purposes. Arkansas law 5-73-120 currently prohibits the possession of a handgun if it is possessed “readily available for use with a purpose to employ the handgun… as a weapon against a person”, which puts the burden of proof of legal carry upon the person carrying the handgun. Act 746 changes the prohibitive language in July as follows:
Arkansas Code § 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.
This technical change decriminalizes the carry of handguns
This technical change decriminalizes the carry of handguns for self-defense purposes, and puts the burden upon a prosecutor to prove criminal intent of a person carrying a handgun. Also, there are no specifications whether a legally carried handgun should be carried openly or concealed; thus it is considered Constitutional Carry by Arkansas Carry and the gun owners of the state. Act 746 is further supported by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and by Article II, § 5 of the Arkansas Constitution (right to bear arms). The manner of carry under Act 746 also does not require a permit or training; however, Arkansas Carry desires that all citizens obtain firearms safety training before carrying a firearm in public. Arkansans should also obtain a state CHCL permit to enable them to carry in reciprocal states.”