States were measured on gun rights/friendliness to gun owners by the following criteria:
- CCW/Open Carry: Only states that don’t require a permit for concealed or open carry scored a perfect 10 in this category. Everybody else was judged accordingly.
- MSRs: States with no restrictions on the kind, type or number of modern sporting rifles (ARs, AKs, etc.) that can be owned or purchased scored a 10 in this category.
- Class 3/NFA: The majority of states allow their citizens to own Class 3/NFA-type firearms (machine guns, suppressors, short-barreled rifles, etc.), provided they follow the federal licensing standard, but not every state is yea or nay.
- Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground: States’ scores were determined based on how strong your the law is regarding self-defense in and out of the home, and whether in the right you’re immune from civil prosecution.
- Miscellaneous: How pro-gun the state culture is has a lot to do with scoring in this category. Scores are based on the percentage of gun owners in the state, if there are any restrictions on gun or ammunition purchases or magazine capacity, pending pro- or anti-gun legislation, CCW reciprocity, and any restrictions on guns that not covered in the other categories.
Sadly, we were Number 31;
CCW/Open Carry: 6
Class 3/NFA: 10
Castle Doctrine: 5
While generally pro-gun and a Shall-Issue CCW state, open carry is not allowed. As far as self-defense/Castle Doctrine, the defender may have to retreat in some situations. The state has no restrictions on mag capacity or types of guns that are legal.
but, that was in March. In July Act 746 became law;
Act 746 makes two significant changes to gun laws in Arkansas. The first is perhaps the most significant. Under Arkansas law, Arkansans are allowed to carry a firearm unobstructed, without a license, while on a “journey.” Some gun advocates have long said that because of this law, open, unlicensed carry has always been legal in Arkansas. I know folks who have carried a firearm — concealed — without a license under this statute. Since a “journey” was never defined in the law, you could travel wherever you liked and if you were stopped by law enforcement, you could always say, “Well, I’m on a journey.” Other laws, such as the concealed carry statute, suggested that this interpretation of the journey law is incomplete at best. However, Act 746 puts that argument to rest by defining, for the first time, what a journey actually is. Under this act, the scope of a journey is defined as extending “beyond the county in which the person lives.” If you travel outside of your county of residence in Arkansas, you can now legally carry a firearm without a license. Needless to say, this is big news.
However, the important section is;
It’s remarkable that so many pundits are missing this part of the story — the definition of a “journey” is only part of the bill, and not even the most significant part. As I wrote before, the law now requires that prosecutors prove an unlicensed gun carrier intended to use that firearm “unlawfully.” Unlawful intent is now a prerequisite for being charged with a crime for possessing a gun. In other words: you can carry a gun, without a license, so long as you aren’t intending to use it to commit a crime. This is the part of the law that makes Act 746 universal constitutional carry.
Of course, the meaning of the bill is now being debated by those who slept through the session...
Unfortunately, some have confused legislative intent with gubernatorial intent. These two ideas are very different.
For instance, Matt Decample, the governor’s spokesman, told The City Wire yesterday that the governor didn’t understand the full implications of the law when he signed it:
DeCample emphasized that Beebe did not sign the law with the understanding that it could be interpreted as allowing people to openly carry firearms in public places.Of course you don’t know how anyone’s going to interpret a law: all you can do is make reasonable guesses. In fact, the governor, or his spokesman, is entitled to say whatever he’d like about Act 746 or anything else — they are entitled to their own opinions. There is, however, no constitutional right or established legal doctrine that allows the governor to determine the ultimate meaning of the law simply on the basis of what was going through his mind when he signed a bill. For instance, if Act 746 gets challenged in court — which it almost certainly will — does the governor envision a judge saying, “Hmm, I wonder what was going through the governor’s mind when he signed this piece of paper?” Presumably not: a court will look at the language the legislature used when it wrote and passed the law, and perhaps the court will draw inferences about legislative intent from the bill’s language. But it is essentially irrelevant what the governor thought when he signed the bill, or indeed what he thinks now.
“You’re not talking about a legal interpretation, you’re talking about one interested party. You don’t know how anyone’s going to interpret a law.”
As the bill is codified we will be watching to endure the bill is enacted as written.