Friday, December 12, 2014

The battle for open carry reaches a Searcy Walmart

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 1:33 PM

click to enlarge gun.jpg
KTHV reports on an open carry advocate who had his concealed carry permit confiscated by a state trooper because he persisted in attempting to carry it openly in a Searcy Walmart.

The State Police, a spokesman said, have requested a charge of carrying a weapon against the customer, but it couldn't be immediately be determined if one would be filed. The customer has complained about his handling by the trooper and the loss of his concealed carry permit.

Walmart danced very carefully around the gun question, saying customers may carry guns in their stores if they are legally permitted to do so. It was when the customer came back with this statement that the trooper again escorted him from the store and took his licesne.

Legally permitted. That is the rub that remains unresolved in Arkansas.

Is open carry legal? The open carry advocates say it is. They say a 2013  law intended to clear up confusion about carrying a weapon on a journey in Arkansas was written in such a way to legalize all open carry. An opinion from Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said that's not so. A bill to allow open carry was defeated in the same legislative session.

Prosecuting attorneys around the state have differed on the question. Open carry advocates periodically stage marches carrying their strap-ons. Drew Tanner's decision to pack at a Walmart was a singular act.

It will take a court case, finally, to settle the question. Or legislation. Open carry advocates should propose a clean open carry bill for the 2015 legislative session. The vote  would provide a clear answer on legislative intent. 

That would be the best alternative even if Republican Leslie Ruitledge issues a countervailing opinion on open carry after she takes office as attorney general in January.

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