A firearms law passed earlier this year opened the door for a myriad of interpretations on whether or not it is legal to openly carry firearms in the state. The open carry advocacy group Arkansas Carry is taking their interpretation to the streets this Sunday.
In what will be their third march the group plans to openly carry firearms in the city of Jonesboro. Nicholas Stehle, with Arkansas Carry, said they’ve had to consider the opinions of law enforcement.
“We've had no issues with law enforcement we've contacted them and they know about it. Scott Ellington, the prosecutor is on board, he understands the plain language of the law, so we don't expect any problems there,” said Stehle.
Arkansas Carry members continue to plan more demonstrations throughout the state. Previously both the Arkansas State Police and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the law in question does not allow for open carry. Stehle said Arkansas Carry interprets the law differently.
“We arrived at that conclusion based on the burden of proof that has now been placed on prosecutors. A prosecutor under Act 746 actually has to prove that a person carrying a weapon actually intended to use it unlawfully against another person,” said Stehle.
Law enforcement officials in Sebastian County did not act to stop demonstrators during a march last month and it remains to be seen how the rest of the state will interpret the law or if carrying in informal, unorganized settings is as permissible as a march.
KUAR plans to have updates on Sunday's rally as well as information on legislative intent and a deeper legal analysis of the law next week.