Group says Ben Geren Park gun rules are illegal (updated)

Editor's note: Updated with comment from the office of Arkansas Attorney General. Comment noted at the end of this story.

Arkansas Carry has contacted Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, asking him and the Sebastian County Quorum Court to repeal a county rule that bans firearms at Ben Geren Park, according to information provided by Arkansas Carry Vice Chairman Steve Jones.

The Sebastian Code rule reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to introduce or otherwise bring into the Ben Geren Regional Park any firearm or to have within his or her possession a firearm while within the Ben Geren Regional Park unless the person has been given express permission to do so by the administration of the Ben Geren Regional Park.”

Officials with Arkansas Carry, which labels itself a “staunch ally of gun owners and the Second Amendment,” believe Arkansas law prevents local governments from enacting gun control legislation.

“Currently, a state regulatory scheme exists for the possession of firearms. The State of Arkansas does not require and, in fact, has specifically prohibited cities, counties and municipalities from exercising their police powers in regards to firearms regulations,” Jones noted in his letter to Hudson and Quorum Court members.

When contacted Friday by The City Wire, Hudson said he was occupied with a family emergency and would respond Monday.

Jones cites Arkansas law that notes: “A local unit of government shall not enact any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner, the ownership, transfer, transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms, ammunition for firearms, or components of firearms, except as otherwise provided in state or federal law.”

According to Arkansas Carry, the state law “specifically restricts” local rulemaking concerning gun laws, and instead seeks to “provide uniformity throughout the state of Arkansas in its firearm laws.” 

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“This Act expressly prohibits Sebastian County from enacting any code, ordinance or regulation concerning the ownership, transfer, transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms, but allows for ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms,” Jones noted in the letter.

Gabe Holmstrom, spokesman for Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, said more info is needed to make a formal legal opinion.

“As a general rule, local ordinances that conflict with a state statute are invalid. In order to determine whether this particular ordinance conflicts with state law one would need to obtain all the facts and analyze the ordinance and the potentially relevant Arkansas code sections. The Attorney General is not in a position to undertake those efforts and therefore cannot comment on the validity of the local law in question.”

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GUNS!!!!!

Mr. Tilley, you ran one too many, I know you can't help it, but I can! Guns, "Arkansas Carry"(probably an arm of the NRA), firing ranges, etc. My God, what is this state and country comming to? How many school-age kids were killed across the country last night? How many have been killed on school and college campuses in the last decade? What is all this craziness about? How about we mothers and grandmothers? Has no one ever explained to these gun-toting, selfish, thoughtless, nutty, peudo-cowboy, gun carring, concealed weapon perverts that the only use for guns is to kill? THE ONLY USE! Where are the mature, responsible, church-going hunters who deserve to own a licensed, approved hunting rifle? Are they afraid of the NRA like our local, state and national elected officials. Or maybe they are all on the take, money talks they tell me. If they don't get with it and join the rest of us, they will be washed down the drain like the rest of them when the crap hits the fan. Beause one of these days you are going to see a public uprising like you've never seen before. Make the populist thing about wall street look like a picnic. And who are we? Why just all the mothers, dads, grandparents, church-goers, ministers, school teachers, administrators, policemen, firemen, big city mayors and the brave elected officials willing to speak out. And that's not all. Brummet, Brantley, national writers, and most important, when they clean up the "Bush mess", the Obama administration. Thats who! Hang on kiddy cowboys, hand guns, automatic weapons and all the other killing machines do not belong in 21st century United States of America. Guns, gangs and drugs don't mix well in our cities. It makes no difference what the 2nd amendment says. That was written over two hundred years ago when flintlocks were the only known firearm. Besides, realism, common sense intelligence, decency, the concern for our fellow man, and LIFE are what is really important. Hand-to-hand with knives, machetes, clubs, wires, etc is much more even. The victim has a chance. I don't quite understand the indiferrence of the American public to date, but hang on to your hats boys, that is starting to change on this Mothers Day 2009. Take a look at Arkansas Carry web page for an eye opener and check out the mothers day thing. We grandma's are going on the war path. God Bless America and Amen.

The First Amendment

Granny says, "It makes no difference what the 2nd amendment says. That was written over two hundred years ago..." The First Amendment is older than the Second (it came first). Does that make the First Amendment irrelevant, also? I would hate it if you didn't have the right to post a reply to this story.

What?

Dear Granny, Spoken like true Obamanite. Get out the quill and lampblack and a scroll. By your own logic you don't have the right to post on the internet sice it didn't exist 200 yrs ago. PS, "When you take away our flintlocks only the crimminals will have flintlocks". Same problem different time.

Guns

I don't object to folks being allowed to own guns. I do object to folks carrying guns to places where children and others are engaged in daily life. If you want to hunt, defend your country, target shoot, collect relics, or other life enhancing activities, more power to you, BUT why carry a gun to church or to the park? Because someone else might be there with a gun to kill me and mine? Give me a break!! We teach our children that guns are the only way to solve problems. Look at video games, movies, television, songs. How many of them show folks having a disagreement and solving it with a quick round of "Paper, Scissors, Rock"? Why are guns glorified and touted as the only way to solve a problem? Have we as humans forgotten how to talk to one another? What happened to common sense, basic decency, regard for human life? You don't have to be religious to value life. And just to set the record straight, yes I do know how to use a gun. My parents both hunted when I was young and taught me how to use both rifle and handgun. Even now, I like to target shoot when I have a chance. When my children are older and express an interest, I will find a way to teach them how to handle a weapon. Both are in martial arts now so it isn't like I am some sissified mom. I believe in your right to possess a firearm. I am just asking that folks use common sense and non-violent methods of defense. How many of you would be willing to take a life???

Church Carry

Hello Khollie. I am known as HungrySeagull on Arkansas Carry. First off, we had several Senators ready to allow the Church Concealed Carry (Passed by the Arkansas House and sent to the Senate) to go to the Senate Floor for vote and thence to the Governor Beebe to sign into Law or Veto. This bill died halfway to the senate because one senator did not do his duty and vote yes or no to break a deadlocked 4-4 vote. In the meantime, several churches have been attacked with people killed. One Pastor could only hold his bible up until bullets tore through and killed him from the Criminal. Some of us are with the Lord. And some of us are strongly called to protect fellow Church Goers in the House of God against Criminals who seek to commit crimes knowing a House of God is NOT a armed house and cannot defend itself without running afoul of current Arkansas Law disallowing Church Carry. Come to my church if this was legal and look over all the people. We are concealed and you will never see the weapon. The only time we can draw is when a criminal is on the property and committing or about to commit with clear intent (Such as holding a weapon ready to fire) inside or about the church. There will be many people inside the church with a variety of health, medical, emotional, spiritual warfare, financial and other issues that lead them to seek God's word and find peace and guidiance. These people will NOT be in any position to engage or act appropriately when such a criminal chooses to engage a Arkansas Church. It is my hope that this Law is changed to lawfully allow churches to defend themselves and thier worshipers without having to take a chance on being prosecuted because a Criminal has to be stopped. Indeed. I carry my 4 pound weapon fully loaded with a spare clip. It is heavy. Think about this. I consider the Arkansas and United States Law much heavier on my shoulders than the gun itself when I am carrying. It is my hope that I never use it. But it is my greater wish to never see or hear of anyone in Arkansas losing thier life or getting wounded because they are kneeling inside a Arkansas Church when a Criminal gets into the place knowing no one will hurt him and the potential for a great illegal robbery or killing is almost worth the risk. Would YOU want criminal to walk into YOUR church and put YOU and your FAMILY and friends at risk for injury or death, not knowing; if anyone in the building has the right training, proper mindset and good understanding of the law to defend? Frontier Churches 200 years ago had to be ready to fight Outlaws and Indians at a moment's notice. Today, I think it's time we have Churches able to protect those who cannot protect themselves. It is not any kind of big ego boost. It is a sober decision to deliver myself, my handgun and submit to the Law and to God when I choose to serve by protecting others in Church. Now all I need is Arkansas to amend the law to let me and others make it happen.

Security for the Insecure

Ever heard of an armed guard and metal detectors at the entrance? How would you stop a bomber? Out of the thousands and thousands of churches how many have been attacked? A concealed weapon may be "packed" by a concealed 'nutcase' as well. I am uneasy with the thought of "troubled worshipers" seeking refuge in "God's house" as personal problems just might be more likely to snap. I guess a "spiritual rush" in a Church becomes numb after awhile like any other stimulant. So the next "buzz" of euphoria would derive from the fruition of a "make my day" scenario..........Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition!!!

Criminals do not follow the law, hence the label as Criminal

To quote Grandma Abner: "Hand-to-hand with knives, machetes, clubs, wires, etc is much more even. The victim has a chance." With respect to you madam, you just nullified your own argument. Criminals by definition do not follow the laws of society. To think that by outlawing the ownership of firearms, gun violence would diminish is horribly naive. It is already illegal to shoot someone except in self defense. It almost sounds cliche, but no truer words have been spoken: "If you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have them." Criminal will have guns no matter what. What then do we defend ourselves with? The only way that victims would have a chance as you say, is to politely ask the bad guy "put down your guns, come on put em up, queensbury rules" PLEASE The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that the right to keep and bear arms as written in our Constitution is an absolute INDIVIDUAL right, no less important than your freedom of speech. The right to self defense is inherent to the right to life. Why then is my life worth less in Ben Geren Park than it is in my own home?
To quote Grandma Abner: "Hand-to-hand with knives, machetes, clubs, wires, etc is much more even. The victim has a chance." With respect to you madam, you just nullified your own argument. Criminals by definition do not follow the laws of society. To think that by outlawing the ownership of firearms, gun violence would diminish is horribly naive. It is already illegal to shoot someone except in self defense. It almost sounds cliche, but no truer words have been spoken: "If you outlaw guns, only the outlaws will have them." Criminal will have guns no matter what. What then do we defend ourselves with? The only way that victims would have a ...>> Read the entire comment.

GUNS!!! They save lives

On April 16, 2007 Seung-Hui Cho walked onto the campus of Virgina Tech, hours later he killed himself. From the time he walked onto campus to the time he ended his life he had killed 32 students and wounded many other. It took police over 3 hours to respond to the “active shooter” that day. Had students who are licensed to carry a firearm been allowed to carry their weapons on campus lives may have been saved that day. Peter Odighizuwa killed 3 people and wounded 3 others when he walked onto campus that day in Jan of 2002. Tracy Bridges and Ted Beson, both licensed to carry a firearm had their weapons in their trucks that day. At the first sounds of gun fire both men took off to their trucks and retrieved their weapons. Following the sounds of gun fire they confronted Odighizuwa, and when their weapons aimed at him, Peter Odighizuwa ended his bloody rampage by surrendering to Bridges and Beson. There is not telling how many more people would have lost their life that day had it not been for those 2 men and their firearms on school grounds. How about here at home. University of Central Arkansas was the scene of 2 killed in October 2008. Campus Police responded to the shootings very fast..but not fast enough to save the lives of the killed. Things may have been different had they been allowed to carry a firearm on school grounds. Colorado Springs, Dec. 2008; Tennesse Jul 2008, both places were the scene of shootings in a church. An armed citizen could have stopped that to. There have been several bills introduced into the General Assembly this year that could potentially open up places where citizens who have a Concealed Handgun Permit will be allowed to carry. For pro-gun people of the State this is great news, for anti-gun people they think it is the end of the world. The Anti-gun people will decry to the public and to the Legislator that “blood will run in the street!” “It will become the wild west!” “Road rage shootings will happen everywhere!” Well, that is simply not the case. Those cries are heard in every state that passes legislation that loosens the restrictions on gun laws and allows Law abiding citizens to carry more places. None of those cries in any of those states have been echoed by blood in the streets, road rage shootings or a wild west gun fight in the towns. Anit-gun folks, we pro-gun folks are still waiting for your outlandish claims to be backed with some facts. In fact, Studies conducted by both the FBI and Researcher John Lott both claim the opposite. They claim that when a state passes “pro-gun” legislation that the amount of crimes in those areas drop. Do you know why that is? Because criminals have no desire to make a victim out of a person who lawfully carries a firearm. The criminals want to go after the easy targets, they will go after the unarmed because there is less of a chance of the criminal getting hurt. School zones, churches..any place that bans law abiding citizens from carry a firearm are safe havens for criminals. A criminal will not abide by the law, that is why they are a criminal. A law saying this place or that is off limits will be ignored by a criminal. They will carry their weapons to those places and commit violent acts because they know that everyone there is unarmed. So why have legislation that effectively makes everyone in those areas a victim? Why not allow the honest man a chance to arm himself so he can protect his life, or the lifes of those around him? Many people have the notion that guns should not be carried anywhere. They say “Well, if something happens you call the police.” Even though the police reacted fast it was to slow for those 2 killed at the University of Arkansas. But even then the police have no legal obligation to help you in the event that you need them. Warren v. District of Columbia (a United States Supreme Court Case) ruled that police that no duty to help a citizen when they call for police help. This case came about when 3 young women were raped and beaten for hours in their home. 2 of the women were upstairs when the attacks started and called police. They were later discovered by their attackers and suffered hours of abuse. The police never came. It is up to individual to protect themselves where ever they may be. If you don’t like guns or choose not to carry one then that’s fine. But don’t cry for restrictions on my guns or my right to protect my family where ever I go because you don’t like them. I might not like a lot of the things you do but I’m not going to try and outlaw it. Leave my rights alone and I will leave yours alone. Persons licensed to carry a firearm are some of the most law abiding people around. They are cleared by the State Police and the FBI in a background investigation, have gone through training on how to use a firearm, know the laws governing the carry of a firearm and have spent a lot of money in the process of doing so. They will not go about and do anything illegal with their weapons because they not only don’t want to lose their license and spend time in jail, but they just want to have the ability to defend themselves where ever they go. Tim Huett Chairman Arkansas Carry timothy.huett@arkansascarry.com

The NRA comment

Nope. We are not an arm of the NRA. We are everyday citizens LIKE YOU who want to preserve our rights. We are everyday citizens LIKE YOU who want to keep our children and loved ones safe.