Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed handgun permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting an Arkansas Concealed Handgun Carry License below.
Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed handgun permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.
Concealed Handgun Permit Basics
Arkansas is a shall-issue, permitless carry state. Concealed weapons licenses are issued at the state level by the Department of Public Safety. Shall-issue means licensing authorities in Arkansas are compelled to issue a license as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law. There is no license, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.
Open carry is legal in Arkansas for any person who is legally allowed to possess a firearm. The minimum age to open carry is 16. This conflicts with federal law, which prevents anyone under 18 from possessing a firearm.
Permitless open carry is legal without a license in Arkansas for any person who is at least 18 years old and who can legally possess a firearm. Concealed carry outside of a person’s home or property is legal without a license for anyone that is over 18 who can legally possess a firearm. 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. Concealed handgun carry licenses require a firearms training course that has been state-approved.
Arkansas offers two types of handgun carry licenses: the CHCL and an Enhanced concealed carry licenses (E-CHCL). The E-CHCL allows for carrying in some forbidden areas, such as public colleges, most public buildings, non-secure locations in airports, churches and more. It requires approximately eight hours of additional classroom and gun-range training.
Although Arkansas doesn’t issue non-resident licenses, active-duty military and their spouses may apply for an Arkansas CHCL. A concealed handgun carry license is valid for five years. In terms of reciprocity, since Arkansas has permitless carry, any person 21 years of age and older who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.
Federally Prohibited Persons
The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed handgun permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.
What Are the License Requirements in Arkansas?
An applicant must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident
- Be at least 21 years of age or 18 years of age if a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, honorably discharged or National Guard
- Have been a resident of Arkansas for the last 90 days or be an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces (or the spouse of) who submits documentation of his or her active duty status
- Not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a handgun and not have threatened or attempted suicide
- Not have been convicted of a felony, without having been pardoned and had firearms possession rights restored, or have had the record sealed or expunged for a sentence prior to March 13, 1995, or have had an offense that was dismissed and sealed or expunged under § 16-93-301 et seq. or § 16-98-303(g)
- Not be subject to any federal, state or local law which makes it unlawful to receive, possess or transport any firearm and have had his or her background check successfully completed through the Department of Arkansas State Police and the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System
- Not chronically or habitually abuse controlled substances or alcoholic beverage to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired (further detailed in §§ 5-73-309(7)(B) and (8)(B)
- Have read the Arkansas concealed carry law
- Not have been adjudicated mentally incompetent
- Not have been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility (veterans who have voluntarily sought mental health treatment at a mental health institution or mental health treatment facility may obtain a license under this subchapter if a circuit court grants his or her petition under § 5-73-327)
- Not be a fugitive from justice or does not have an active warrant for his or her arrest
- Have completed an approved firearms training class
- Not have been convicted of the offense of carrying a weapon within the last five years
- Sign a statement of allegiance to the United States and Arkansas Constitutions
- Meet federal law requirements.
*Consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your eligibility. If you don’t have an attorney, you can find one by contacting the State Bar of Arkansas.
Do I Need Firearms Training in Arkansas?
Yes, a basic, approximately five-hour training class is required to obtain a CHCL. An additional approximately eight-hour enhanced training class and live fire qualification is required to obtain an E-CHCL, although there are limited exemptions from the “live-fire” training requirement.
Training must include the following:
- Knowledge of Arkansas law relating to firearms and the use of deadly force
- Familiarity with the basic concepts of the safe and responsible use of handguns
- Knowledge of self-defense principles
- Physical competence with a handgun
All training must be obtained within the last six months prior to applying for a license.
Training is also required prior to license renewal. The applicant must successfully demonstrate proficiency with the use of a handgun on the firing range by live fire. Renewal training may also address updates and changes in the concealed handgun carry licensing laws and rules. An applicant who desires to obtain an enhanced license upon renewal may substitute an enhanced training certificate for the renewal training requirement.
How Do I Get a Concealed Handgun Permit in Arkansas?
Step 1: Take the CHCL firearms safety class for a CHCL. If applying for an enhanced CHCL, the enhanced training class is also required.
Step 2: Apply online or by submitting a paper application within six months of finishing your firearms safety class and write your confirmation number/order ID on your training certificate.
Step 3: Have your fingerprints taken at your local law enforcement agency or by a private fingerprinting business.
Step 4: Submit your fingerprints, training certificate and fee to the Arkansas State Police at:
Arkansas State Police
1 State Plaza Drive
Little Rock, AR 72209
Step 5: You will be notified if your application has been approved.
For more information, visit the USCCA Arkansas gun laws page now…
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.