KASU

Concealed Carry Laws

Keynote speaker Carly Posey addresses the crowd at the 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference in North Little Rock.
Daniel Breen / KUAR

Law enforcement and education officials from around the state are gathering in North Little Rock to discuss best practices for improving school security.

The 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference comes one week after the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its preliminary report on how to thwart and respond to threats of school violence.

Five months after the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved ballot initiative, officially took effect in early November of 2016, handgun carrying laws greatly expanded in Arkansas as well. But gun owners who register as medical marijuana patients are federally prohibited from purchasing or even owning a gun. 

A row of men and one woman stood with guns raised to face paper silhouettes of a torso while their trainer counts off for them to shoot. The Arkansas Armory in Sherwood was holding one of its first shooting exams for the state's new enhanced concealed carry permit this month.

Applicants were aiming to hit an unmoving target 70 percent of the time, but they were also preparing for potentially more chaotic live scenarios as part of Arkansas’s new enhanced concealed carry license. It's for places like college campuses, the state capitol, restaurants, and churches. The license requires a shooting test and eight hours of training that includes, among other topics, what to do and not do in the event of an active shooter.

Governor Asa Hutchinson promoted the idea of teachers being armed in schools at a meeting with President Trump on Monday and called for federal terrorist-fighting funds to be redirected locally to schools. The President, who was hosting a few dozen governors during the National Governors Association annual winter meeting, indirectly responded by saying deporting gang members is part of the solution.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack (R-Rogers), representative of Arkansas' 3rd congressional district
Talk Business and Politics

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, expects an attempt at bipartisanship to reform the Congressional budgeting process, but he’s less certain of consensus on altering gun laws in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting.

Arkansas State Capitol
Wikipedia.org

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas lawmaker says he won't push for a measure easing a requirement for concealed handgun trainers during this year's session after the governor said he supports delaying the mandate's deadline so the issue can be addressed later.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner said Thursday he'll drop his proposal removing the requirement that concealed carry instructors offer both the regular training and the enhanced training under an expanded concealed handgun law approved last year.

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - People with misdemeanor convictions of domestic violence would be barred from having access to guns under proposed legislation.

This week lawmakers came to the capitol for a special session to discuss the budget. To vote on anything outside of the budget during a fiscal session, a two-thirds majority must agree, but that bar hasn’t stopped some lawmakers.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — More than 70 instructors in Arkansas are now eligible to teach a new "enhanced" concealed-carry curriculum that would allow gun owners to carry weapons in previously gun-free locations.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday on Twitter that the first instructors were made eligible to offer the enhanced training after taking tests last week, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

State lawmakers took a step toward enhanced concealed carry on college campuses Friday in spite of some pushback from firearm trainers who don’t want to be required to teach the new class for compensation they say is too low.

 

State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) was among the majority of lawmakers who voted to approve the plan anyway.

“You know, when this is done, there will be less gun-free zones which are soft targets in Arkansas. There will be more people, carrying in more places, being able to protect themselves and others in more places when this rule is implemented. That’s called liberty,” he said at Friday’s legislative council meeting.

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Passing of 2015 legislation allowing county courthouse employees in Arkansas to carry concealed handguns on county properties has sparked action for 2 Northeast Arkansas counties.

KAIT-TV reports the Cross County Quorum Court approved an ordinance Monday allowing full-time employees and elected official to carry handguns on the property.