Is Arkansas An Open Carry State?

There has been quite a confusion as to whether it is legal to open carry in the state of Arkansas. In 2013, there were some amendments to the law regarding the open carry of firearms in Arkansas. This change is the root of the confusion. However, the Attorney General’s opinion on this is that open carry is legal even without securing any permit as long as the individual is of legal age.

On October 17, 2018, the Arkansas Appeals Court ruled that open carrying will only be a punishable crime if the person carrying has the intent to use in any unlawful activity against a person. The declaration of the statement is in the case of CR-18-53, Jamie Taff v. The State of Arkansas.

Exemptions To The Law

The ruling for Jamie Taff v. the State of Arkansas does not apply; however, if the person carrying the gun is:

  • Aiding a local law enforcer or any correctional officer who, at the time, is carrying out their official duty to protect and serve the citizens
  • In any property that they have any possessory or proprietary interest including his place of dwelling and business address (excluding vehicles used for business e.g., taxi)
  • Doing any activity related to hunting game as long as it is within the rules of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission which includes traveling to and from the hunting area
  • Carrying a firearm while traveling; this excludes flying through a commercial airport at the security checkpoint or inside the person’s luggage if it isn’t lawfully declared

The answer to the question, “can you open carry in Arkansas?” is yes, it is legal to open carry in the state provided that an individual follows specific prohibitions and other laws regarding the open carry of guns. Let’s discuss more of the details of the open carry law in Arkansas.

Age Restriction For Open Carry Law In Arkansas

Arkansas’ law is contrary to federal law, which states that an individual has to be at least 21 to carry a firearm. Arkansas state laws dictate that it is legal for anyone who is at least 18 years old to carry firearms without permission. This law, however, has its restrictions and prohibitions.

Anyone who supplies firearms to someone under the age of 18 will be criminally liable if the furnishing is not under the consent of a parent, guardian, or individual responsible for the minor. The supplier can be charged with Class A misdemeanor and can turn to Class B felony if the firearm is a handgun or any other firearm specified by law.

State laws do not have regulations regarding age restrictions on the possession of shotguns and rifles.

Who Can Have Guns In Arkansas?

Federal law dictates that persons who have a history of felony charges are domestic abusers, and are suffering from mental illnesses may not be legally allowed to carry a firearm. The state of Arkansas has incorporated into their state laws some of these prohibitions.

It is illegal for an individual to carry guns if:

  • They have felony charges even if the defendant is on probation or the sentence is under suspension
  • They had an involuntary admission to a mental facility
  • A court has ruled that they are mentally ill

If an individual awaiting adjudication on a felony case has entered a plea of guilty, they are felons as far as Arkansas’s gun laws are concerned. It is illegal for these individuals to carry firearms in public concealed or otherwise.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Arkansas?

There are several places where people can carry their guns in public in Arkansas. These locations include:

  • State-owned public parks
  • Vehicles
  • State-owned forests
  • Anywhere as long as it isn’t in the places where gun-carrying is prohibited

Much like any other state, Arkansas has a list of places where one cannot carry firearms. One of the most common places where there is prohibition among several states is in public K-12 schools. This law is also the case in Arkansas. People even with permits to carry concealed weapons are not allowed to bring them in public K-12 schools, school buses, and school bus stops.

There are several more places where carrying a gun isn’t allowed. These locations are listed below:

  • Any athletic events and venues of said events of the University of Arkansas
  • The Jean Tyson Child Development Center
  • Any office of the local law enforcement agency including police stations, sheriff’s office, Arkansas State Police office, and Highway Police office.
  • Any establishment that belongs to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, including areas nearby these buildings, however, weighing stations, public parking areas, and resting areas are exclusions of this law.
  • Correctional facilities e.g., jail, prison and other establishment related to other correctional facilities in the state
  • Courthouses, courtrooms, and other establishments where judges make judicial decisions
  • Any area where the governing body of government entities go to meet including and meetings conducted by the legislative branch or its committee
  • During meetings of the General Assembly or its committee
  • Any government offices belonging to the state
  • Any sports events that don’t include shooting/firing events
  • Establishments and other licensed stores that allow the consumption of alcohol within their premises; this excludes restaurants licensed to sell alcoholic beverages and enables customers to consume alcohol in their premises
  • Inside any airport past security check unless the firearm is ready for any legal transportation
  • Inside churches and any other places where people come to worship and observe religious practices unless the pastor or any head of the worship place gives permission
  • Any place where there’s a “no guns allowed” sign or where the property owner or manager of the site explicitly requests to prohibit firearm possession
  • During any parade or lawful demonstration
  • Any private property including areas of dwelling if the owner or current occupants do not permit carrying weapons inside

What Is Arkansas Open Carry Law On Purchase and Possession of Guns?

Laws concerning firearm dealers in Arkansas are very lenient. Unlike the federal law where gun dealers are required to get permits and licenses from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives to sell guns, Arkansas state laws do not need it.

Arkansas has no laws that require gun sellers to maintain a record or report sales of firearms. Sellers can also not keep background check records of their customers.

Waiting periods are also not implemented in the state of Arkansas. Anyone who purchases a firearm can physically take the gun after a transaction. Other states require a waiting period to delay any criminal activity that any purchaser might be planning to do.

Individuals are not required to secure a permit to purchase firearms in Arkansas. Sellers are also not required to do a background check on the purchasers. Once a person buys a gun, they can choose whether to have it registered with the proper authorities or not. Gun registration is not a requirement according to state law.

Other Gun-Carrying Laws In Arkansas

Firearm Type Restrictions

Arkansas does not have laws governing the use of the following firearms:

  • Assault weapons
  • Large capacity magazines
  • 50 caliber rifles

They do, however, have laws concerning the possession and use of machine guns. Any individual who possesses or uses a machine gun for “offensive or aggressive” purposes will have a sentence of 10 years or more of jail time in the state prison.

Offensive or aggressive use of machine guns are defined as follows:

  • If the individual is carrying the machine gun on a property that isn’t under his ownership.
  • If the individual carrying is not a naturalized foreigner and has convictions of a crime that is violent by nature by a court in the US and its territories 
  • If the person is nearby empty or loaded pistol shells of 30 or bigger caliber which are susceptible for use in a machine gun

All manufacturers of guns are required by the state of Arkansas to register all machine guns they manufactured.

Gun Trafficking Laws in Arkansas

It is illegal to transfer or give any individual a firearm if the recipient is guilty or has pleaded guilty to a felony. This law only applies if the transferor knows that the recipient has a felony conviction.

It is illegal in Arkansas to sell, rent, or transfer a firearm to a person who is not legally allowed by state or federal law to possess firearms. Any violators of this law can have Class A misdemeanor offense. If the guns sold, rented, or transferred is a handgun, machine gun, or any other specified firearm, the violation will be a Class B felony.

Additional Resources

Arkansas Gun Laws
Arkansas Concealed Carry Laws
Arkansas Gun Permit Laws

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