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Arkansas Carry plans ‘open carry’ protest walk (Updated)

Editor's note: Updated with comment from Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey.

Arkansas Carry members plan to make a statement on Aug. 24 about their disagreement with Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel’s view that Act 746 does not allow open carry of firearms in the state.

Act 746, passed earlier this year in the regular session of the 89th General Assembly, made technical corrections to laws related to possession of handguns. In mid June, Arkansas Carry issued a statement saying the new law would allow for open carry of handguns in Arkansas on Aug. 16.

McDaniel’s office issued an opinion on July 8 saying that Act 746 does not make legal the open carry of a handgun. In the opinion, requested by Sen. Eddie Joe Williams, R-Cabot, McDaniel said just because someone may be going on a journey, which is defined as "beyond the county in which the person lives," it does not mean that they are able to openly carry a firearm on his or her waist.

"To the contrary, the journey exception applies only to 'travel beyond the county in which a person lives' – a narrow range of activity inconsistent with the concept of 'open carry,’" McDaniel noted in the opinion.

McDaniel also said the journey rule generally applied to keeping a weapon within a vehicle, not on an individual.

Steve Jones, chairman of Arkansas Carry, panned McDaniel’s opinion.

"Arkansas Carry finds the AG Opinion 2013-047 one of the worst written opinions to ever come out of the Arkansas Attorney General office. Besides being very incoherent, all of the opinions were based on assumptions, and were devoid of examples of pertinent state law or previous judicial rulings."

To protest the AG opinion, around 12 members of Arkansas Carry will meet near Fort Smith at 9 a.m. on Aug. 24, to conduct an “open carry walk” along a portion of Massard Road at Chaffee Crossing. The plan, which is subject to change, will have the walkers meet at Ben Geren Park near the road. From there, the participants will legally conceal their weapons until they reach Massard Road through the park’s walking trails. (Sebastian County does not allow open carry at the park.)

Once the walkers leave the park, they will carry the handguns in the open as they walk on the sidewalk a short distance down Massard Road. According to Jones, the Fort Smith Police Department may have a patrol car present in case someone “is alarmed by open handguns.”

“We don’t want to make it difficult for the city of Fort Smith and the Fort Smith Police Department. We just want to make a statement about the Second Amendment and Act 746,” Jones said.

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UPDATED INFO: Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey said his department “would not enforce the terms of the Act” based on McDaniel’s opinion. Lindsey said he was told by John Settle, Fort Smith prosecuting attorney, that “just carrying it unconcealed is not enough” to cause an arrest. Lindsey told The City Wire that he and Settle’s view is that there has to be proof an “attempt to unlawfully use” a weapon against another person.

Lindsey said the department would have a patrol car in the area during the walk.

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Comments

Think....

Folks, just because something might not be illegal doesn't mean it's a good idea. This is not a good idea. Firearms proponents and opponents have become so polarized that neither side is using common sense.

common sense

the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected and needs to be protected and its makes sense that guns don't commit the crime but the person does. if you take the guns away from the good people then only bad people will have guns because the criminals don't obey the law anyway. think that the chief is using good judgement in his decision to watch the event but not be involved unless a law is broken.

Not smart

I question the propriety of Lindsey and Settle going against the State AG offices opinion. They can have their personal opinion but when the AG issues an opinion all care should be taken to follow it especially by public servants. I find the whole situation ridiculous. The actual open carry bill never made it out of committee so the hard core gun rights folks latched onto a poorly worded and poorly written bill that had nothing to do with open carry to try to make it into what they want. However I find it very concerning that our prosecuting attorneys office and police force is going to ignore the AG opinion though, what else are they going to start ignoring.

VERY smart... and lawful

You have the situation totally reversed. It is the AG that is ignoring the law. As to the law being "poorly worded and poorly written"... it could not be more clear and/or precise. It is easily understandable by anyone who can read it... which is the mark of an exemplary piece of legislation.

Actually deceitful

The bill that made the modifications was entitled that it was merely clarifying and correcting an existing law. In fact all the legislative intent at the time shows that the main purpose of the bill was to provide a definition to journey which had no previous definition. Only months after the fact did ole Nate come up with saying it was their purpose to make it open carry. Of course that would basically mean that Dimmy and Nate and the boys openly lied to both constituents and colleagues to get the bill passed because as you know the actual real open carry bill went down in flames. Certainly doesn't sound like carrying out the will of the majority does it.

Agreed

I agree, it is not the privilege of the AGs office to simply say a law means whatever they feel it means.

Carry on NumberSix

most of the people in the state of Oklahoma disagree with your opinion and probably most of the folks in Arkansas disagree too, including your own police chief, but we will all defend your right to express your opinion because free speech and the right to carry are basic constitutional rights. carry on!

super smart

Just because the AG is interpreting act 746 Wrong doesn't mean Lindsey and settle have to . I commend them for standing tall and not buckling to AG and AR State Police pressure to interpret it wrong .

Ignoring the Attorney General

I would like to know what law or precedent within the law requires or suggests that agencies tasked with upholding the Constitution of the US or Arkansas should follow the opinion in question? As a 17+ years Peace Officer, it was always my understanding that the Law shall be adhered to,as written, by those in the criminal justice system.

Bad laws are meant to be

Bad laws are meant to be ignored. Those who don't like the 2nd amendment should vote to have it abolished.

The Constitutional Right to self protection vs Government

In 2005 Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling that received little attention when handed down, but which is extremely pertinent to today's gun debate, found that police officers are not constitutionally bound to protect citizens. The cold hard truth of the slogan of commitment on Police Units "To serve and to protect" is dangerously false. The fact is, you are on your own, PERIOD...... I listen to those who oppose concealed carry and open carry including just flat out against having a firearm. What is obvious is about the antigun gun side, their beliefs are not at all based on facts and definitely ill informed. They have no practical experience or they must carry the tune from higher up with malicious intents. But most of all, they believe you must share in their own sickness (hoplophobia) and beliefs, there is no other way but there way. To own, to carry or not to own or not to carry should be left to one’s own choices. Governments will use the excuse of trying to protect the people from maniacs and crime, but are in reality, it is the bureaucrats protecting their power and position.” As one Luby Massacre Survivor to Senate: “I’m Not a Victim of Guns, But of Lawmakers Who ‘Legislate Me Out of the Right to Protect Myself and My Family’” As for myself, I’ve been a victim once, never again! Anyone who thinks I'm going to put myself and those around me into danger because of a group of bureaucratic idiots who they believe you must share in their own sickness (hoplophobia) and says we must disarm ourselves ? - NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
In 2005 Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruling that received little attention when handed down, but which is extremely pertinent to today's gun debate, found that police officers are not constitutionally bound to protect citizens. The cold hard truth of the slogan of commitment on Police Units "To serve and to protect" is dangerously false. The fact is, you are on your own, PERIOD...... I listen to those who oppose concealed carry and open carry including just flat out against having a firearm. What is obvious is about the antigun gun side, their beliefs are not at all based on facts and definitely ill informed. They have no practical experience or ...>> Read the entire comment.

naive at best

it certainly would be naive to expect the police to prevent a home invasion or a robbery without prior knowledge of the event and the police can only act after the crime has been committed so it makes a lot of sense that homeowners should have a weapon in the home to ward off an attacker until the police can be called to take charge. criminals are not likely to attack a homeowner that is armed and would look for an easier target like NumberSix who thinks guns have no place in the home for protection. just my thoughts

Typical happy logic

Where in anything I have ever said did I come across as anti-gun? Please quote me so I can see where you made this lame logic jump. As a holder of a cc permit I am strongly in favor of gun ownership and proper training. As well as a proponent of concealed carry. I actively carry but I see absolutely no purpose except some bravado reason for open carry. Don't make the jump that people who are against open carry are against self protection or firearms. I don't fall into that classification nor do many other active gun owners. Being pro-gun doesn't mean you have to buy into any asinine scheme that is thought up.

schemes and themes

it seems to me that in the past you spoke out against the people that were petitioning their government against the prepared food tax and now you don't like the open carry march that is a form of expression by citizens. would you consider it a "lame logic jump" to think that you also are against free speech unless its your speech? please explain how a citizen could go hunting unless they were allowed to open carry from their homes to the site of the hunt? hmmmm

Still illogical

Your accusation had to do with firearms possession not freedom of speech. So don't change the subject. Furthermore I have no opinion on the march or its implication of free speech. I think the asinine stretch interpretation of the law by the gun toting jr. lawyers is what is ridiculous. As for hunting, you do realize that the modified statute ACA 5-73-120 has been in effect for a long time and it has specifically allowed carrying of weapons to go hunting far before this most recent legislative session. If you think hunting rights, gun range rights, etc are part of what the open carry folks are seeking then you are far behind the times. Because carrying a gun to go hunting or to the range has been allowed for a long time. Furthermore citizens have been allowed to carry a concealed weapon for personal protection for quite a while in Arkansas as well.
Your accusation had to do with firearms possession not freedom of speech. So don't change the subject. Furthermore I have no opinion on the march or its implication of free speech. I think the asinine stretch interpretation of the law by the gun toting jr. lawyers is what is ridiculous. As for hunting, you do realize that the modified statute ACA 5-73-120 has been in effect for a long time and it has specifically allowed carrying of weapons to go hunting far before this most recent legislative session. If you think hunting rights, gun range rights, etc are part of what the open carry folks are seeking then you are far behind the times. Because carrying a gun to go ...>> Read the entire comment.

911 caller gets sued by cop..

..for not adequately warning of the risk involved. Yes somewhere out west on todays news. The sheriff seemed really aggravated at the deputy. Let's hope this doesn't sprout wings and learn to fly.

"Open Carry" protest walk

Chief Lindsey and Mr. Settle in my opinion have taken the true Constitutional track on this issue. KUDOS to them! The new law is what it is, the Law. The opinion of the Attorney General is simply that, an opinion that no one is bound to. Until or unless the law is challenged in court the intent is pretty obvious to any discerning person with reasonable comprehension.

oh dannyboy

just love that song and your comment too! the attorney general gave his opinion and some NumberSix person agreed with the AG. they are entitled to their opinions but they are just opinions and the majority of the people seem to disagree with their opinions. the law is the important issue and open carry is and always should be a protected constitutional right. it must also be noted that cities with tough gun laws are cities with the highest crime rates because the bad guys don't follow the laws anyway because in their opinion, your stuff is really their stuff!

Paranoid Brandishing

Why would I want to broadcast that I am armed? The element of surprise would be lost. A potential assailant would have an advantage once you expose "your equalizer".

paranoia persona

excessive gun control has proved to cause crime to rise because the bad guys don't follow the law anyway and take a look at detroit, chicago, washington, and other cities that have the most strict gun laws. the facts don't lie and concealed carry does not give anyone an advantage because the bad guy always has the element of surprise on his side so please tell me when the last time that you heard of a policeman being held up or robbed? the answer is never and they always open carry so it proves my point that only a fool would try to rob or harm a person that did open carry. concealed carry offers no deterent to crime other than a firm response but open carry would actually make the bad guys think twice before an attack. I rest my case.
excessive gun control has proved to cause crime to rise because the bad guys don't follow the law anyway and take a look at detroit, chicago, washington, and other cities that have the most strict gun laws. the facts don't lie and concealed carry does not give anyone an advantage because the bad guy always has the element of surprise on his side so please tell me when the last time that you heard of a policeman being held up or robbed? the answer is never and they always open carry so it proves my point that only a fool would try to rob or harm a person that did open carry. concealed carry offers no deterent to crime other than a firm response but open carry would ...>> Read the entire comment.

guns or poverty

Washington has seen a large decline in crime as the DC economy has boomed and redevelopment has spread across the district. In short: it's the economy, stupid. The effects of gun proliferation or regulations are exaggerated by both sides of the debate.