Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in Arkansas below.
Getting a Concealed Carry Permit
It is now clear that permitless open carry is legal without a permit in Arkansas for any person who is at least 18 years old and who can legally possess a firearm. As of Oct. 17, 2018, the Arkansas Appeals Court stated in case CR-18-353, Jamie Taff v. State of Arkansas, “Under the clear language of § 5-73-120(a), the possessor of a handgun must have an unlawful intent to employ it as a weapon against a person in order to make that possession a criminal act.” The minimum age to open carry is 18 years old. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and bars.
Concealed carry is legal without a license for anyone who is over 18 years old who can legally possess a firearm and on “a journey (travel) beyond the county in which the person lives.” Concealed Handgun Carry Licenses (CHCL) are issued to residents at least 21 years of age (or 18 years of age if a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard) and require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Arkansas offers two types of handgun carry licenses: a CHCL and an Enhanced Concealed Carry License (E-CHCL). The E-CHCL allows carrying in some forbidden areas such as public colleges, most public buildings, non-secure locations in airports, churches and more. Although Arkansas doesn’t issue non-resident licenses, active-duty military and their spouses may apply for an Arkansas CHCL. In terms of reciprocity, since Arkansas has permitless carry, anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.
There is no permit required to purchase a handgun in Arkansas. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. There is no firearms registration or waiting period when buying a handgun. There are no magazine-capacity or ammunition restrictions.
Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit for anyone at least 19 years old. It is also legal to possess a small container of tear gas or pepper spray to be used for self-defense purposes only. However, the capacity of the cartridge or container cannot exceed 150cc.
Where Can One Concealed Carry?
Concealed carry is allowed in a vehicle when upon a journey beyond the county in which a person lives, with or without a license to carry a concealed handgun, except in prohibited places and provided there is no unlawful intent to employ it as a weapon against a person. There is a duty to inform a law enforcement officer upon contact if an individual is carrying a concealed firearm.
Some areas where concealed carry is allowed for concealed carry permit holders include:
- The restaurant area of an eatery that serves alcohol, unless posted (however, concealed carry is not allowed in bars or the bar areas of restaurants)
- State/national parks, state/national forests and wildlife management areas (but not in any building where a state office is located)
- Roadside rest areas
Possession of a valid E-CHCL enables the holder to possess and carry a concealed handgun in the following locations:
- Buildings and grounds of a public university, college or community college
- Publicly owned buildings and facilities
- State Capitol grounds and the State Capitol building
- Any meeting place of the governing body of any governmental entity
- Any meeting place of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly
- State offices
- Athletic events
- A portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
- A portion of an establishment where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises
- Inside the passenger terminal of an airport
- Churches or other places of worship
- Any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, even when the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration
Locations where concealed carry is prohibited, even for permit holders,* include:
- Public K-12 schools (permittees may possess and store firearms in their vehicles in parking lots, however), school buses or school bus stops
- Posted firearms-sensitive areas at the Arkansas State Hospital and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- University of Arkansas athletic events and venues, the Jean Tyson Child Development Center and Ella’s
- Police, sheriff, Arkansas State Police or Arkansas Highway Police offices
- Buildings of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department or grounds adjacent to such buildings (except rest areas, weigh stations and public parking areas)
- Detention facilities, prisons or jails
- Courthouses or courtrooms
- Any meeting place of “the governing body of any governmental entity” or any meeting of the Legislature or a committee thereof
- Any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly
- State offices
- Athletic events not related to firearms competition in which the license holder is participating
- Any portion of an establishment, except a restaurant, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises or where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises
- Inside the passenger terminal of any airport (unless the handgun is encased for shipment by lawful transportation)
- Churches or other places of worship (unless the head of the place of worship has given permission)
- Any place where a property owner or manager has exercised discretion to prohibit the possession of a firearm
- Participating in a parade or demonstration for which a permit is required
- At a private residence without having first advised the occupants that the license holder is carrying a concealed weapon and received permission to carry the handgun
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law
*Note: See the above section for locations where E-CHCL holders may carry.
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