On 4 April, 2013, Arkansas HB1700 became ACT 746. The revised law will not go into effect until late July or early August of this year.
The bill makes a definition change in the statute that has been interpreted to limit the legal carrying of weapons in Arkansas.
The original language was this:
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 employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.
The new language is this. Bold added to make the change stand out:
Carrying a weapon.
(a) Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 is amended to read as follows: 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 change clarifies the meaning of the law to what was likely the original intent; that a person may not carry a weapon with the intent of using it for unlawful purposes. There does not appear to be other Arkansas law that forbids the carrying of weapons (except in certain named locations). Therefore it appears that Arkansas will have Constitutional carry.
The law also clarifies the meaning of “journey”. The previous law made an exception for the carry of weapons during a journey. Journey is now clarified to mean travel that crosses a county boundary. Arkansas has many counties of roughly the same size , about 25 to 30 miles on a side. This means that a great deal of travel will fall into the legal category of a journey. In addition the law exempts carry on your own property or property that you have an interest in.
Map showing Arkansas Counties
There may be legal challanges before the law is accepted by all legal entities in Arkansas.