Arkansas politicians apparently aren’t content to sit idly by while anti-gun sentiment runs amok in Washington, D.C. Instead, they pledge to take a firm stand to protect the rights of gun owners in their state once the new legislative session opens Jan. 14.
The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that while there is some push for infringing on Second Amendment rights as Democrats vow to push for a so-called red-flag law that would allow gun confiscation with little or no due process, Republican lawmakers plan to counter that by expanding gun rights.
Republicans plan to start with something as simple as a bill that would proclaim the shotgun as the state gun, but make no mistake—they have plans for strengthening the right to carry, too.
State Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, said he plans to investigate carry legislation by finding a way to allow holders of an “enhanced” carry permit to be armed in public buildings. He would also like to find a way to expedite the process for obtaining a permit to carry. One step in that direction is included in a bill that was filed ahead of the 2019 session that would halve the fee for carry permit.
Apparently Rep. Jim Dotson, R-Bentonville, and Garner—who are sponsoring the reduced-fee bill—understand that when you have exorbitant fees that bar many citizens from even thinking about applying for the right to carry, you are doing people who are struggling to get by a disservice.
Politicians are also bandying about the idea of clarifying the state’s position on open carry. You might recall that in 2017, Gov. Asa Hutchinson told state police that open carry is legal, based on a 2013 law. But some people have questioned whether the law in question really carries that much weight. That is a muddied picture that legislators hope to clear up.