Effort continues to change Fort Smith gun laws

Steve Jones is not letting up on his effort to convince Fort Smith officials to change the rules on firearms in city parks.

On Monday (Feb. 4), Jones e-mailed Fort Smith Mayor Sandy Sanders and Fort Smith City Director Philip Merry Jr. to explain that the Fort Smith National Historic Site and the National Cemetery in Fort Smith allow concealed-carry permit holders to have a firearm on their property.

Firearm possession in Fort Smith parks is not allowed by existing city regulations. Jones, chairman of Arkansas Carry, a gun rights group, alleges that Fort Smith is in violation of portions of Arkansas law (A.C.A. Sections 14-16-504 and 14-54-1411) with its prohibition on the carry of firearms at public parks.

Arkansas Carry bases its argument on A.C.A. Section 14-54-1411, which states “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.”

In 2009, Arkansas Carry convinced Sebastian County to remove their firearms law from the county code. In 2012, the cities of Russellville and Conway considered passing firearms ordinances, but these plans were dropped after receiving pressure from Arkansas Carry.

In his Monday e-mail, Jones said federal rules have allowed concealed carry at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and the National Cemetery for several years “all without incident.”

“Combine this fact with equal results in another Fort Smith based park (Ben Geren, which is one of the state's biggest), and it becomes obvious that Fort Smith should repeal its gun ordinances and reform the city government's stance on gun control,” Jones said.

National Park Service rules do follow state law on firearm rules.

“If you can possess firearms legally according to the laws of the state in which a park is located, you can generally carry them in that park,” according to a National Park Service page explaining the rules. “A permit is required to carry concealed weapons. Some concealed-weapons permits are recognized in multiple states, but many are not. It is the gun owner’s responsibility to know and understand what laws apply.”

Fort Smith City Administrator Ray Gosack said it may be prudent to see if the Arkansas Legislature changes municipal rules related to firearms. He said one overall amendment may be better than making a string of minor amendments to the ordinance.

“I think what we’re going to do is wait and see what the state Legislature does this year. ... We’re just going to deal with this one time,” Gosack said, adding that it’s important to not no “confuse the public by playing ping pong with our local laws.”

Fort Smith City Director George Catsavis said during a Jan. 22 study session that the city should amend its rules to allow concealed carry in city parks. Fort Smith City Director Keith Lau has said the Board should wait for the Arkansas Legislature or other authorities should determine how state law should be prescribed.

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Coincidentally, the Arkansas House on Monday approved Senate Bill 71, which allows churches to decide on allowing guns. The bill, which has been approved in the Senate, passed the House with an 85 to 8 margin. Seven House members did not vote. The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Mike Beebe.

Rep. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith, has filed a bill (HB 1035) that would allow “trained and licensed staff” to carry a concealed handgun on a university or community college campus.

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Comments

Half Truth Jones

Federal law permits national park carry only so far as it does not interfere with either state or municipal law To indicate otherwise is to lie in the grey

so glad you asked

finding that law is an easy google search, but I will be glad to oblige you. Firearm carry in national parks was achieved by burying a section into the "Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009." It is in Section 512, entitled, Protecting Americans from Violent Crime, because, after all, credit cards can be so lethal. This section, as of February 2010, permitted concealed carry of guns, traps and nets in all but 3 of the nation's 391 national parks and wildlife refuges (according to Wikipedia) so long as such carry is in adherence with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations. As you lumber through Section 512 you get to paragraph B: (b) Protecting the Right of Individuals To Bear arms in Units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System- The Secretary of the Interior shall not promulgate or enforce any regulation that prohibits an individual from possessing a firearm including an assembled or functional firearm in any unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System if-- (1) the individual is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm; and (2) the possession of the firearm is in compliance with the law of the State in which the unit of the National Park System or the National Wildlife Refuge System is located. I think the key word is promulgate. For the record, I am not opposed to concealed carry in open spaces. I would much rather you have your gun by your side rather than locked in an unattended vehicle. I just think that all players in the game should play fair and honestly. On two occasions now, Mr. Jones has only quoted half the law. In my opinion, he does not play fair and he is not honest.

Computers writing laws, Spell check gone awry. "Bear"

. "As you lumber through Section 512 you get to paragraph B: (b) Protecting the Right of Individuals To Bear arms in Units of the National Park System and the National Wildlife Refuge System" If this shows up in credit card legislation whose "right" mind is doing this sort of labyrinth thinking? I guess the spirit of the law really meant to deny credit cards to Yogi Bears in the National Parks. Next thing you know, to qualify to get a firearm your composite credit score/IQ average will need to be below 60 or above 140 to qualify. Everyone in the middle class won't qualify as they are an endangered species protected by another law buried in arcane laws privy to Illuminati only. This whole gun thing is out of control. Let's just allow patriot missles in everybody driveway to shoot down government drones to prevent collateral damage when targeting "suspected terrorist U.S citizens. Missles coming soon to buy at your local Army/Navy store!