State Governor Says Open Carry is Legal

Gov. Asa Hutchinson this month contacted the Arkansas State Police to inform the agency that the open carry of firearms is legal in the state by his interpretation.

In letters obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, the Arkansas Times discovered that Hutchinson reached out to State Police director, Col. Bill Bryant, instructing him to provide the guidance to troopers in the field, saying he felt any arrest of an individual who was open carrying “would be both inappropriate and inconsistent with Arkansas law.”

The Governor, who helmed the National Rifle Association’s School Shield Task Force in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, says in the letter that he had expected the state supreme court to rule on the open carry issue, but they did not have an opportunity.

In turn, Bryant last week issued a directive on Arkansas’ often-controversial Act 746, a law which is seen by many as clouding the legality of permitless carry in the state. The states’ top lawman passed down to troop and criminal investigation division commanders that, while openly carrying a handgun does not provide probable cause for arrest, troopers can stop and detain a person suspected of reasonably suspicious actions to investigate.

The communications are the latest chapter in the four-year saga of Act 746 which tweaked state law to say that handgun permits were no longer needed when carrying a pistol or revolver on “a journey” in Arkansas. This led gun rights advocates to argue that permitless or constitutional carry either openly or concealed was legal in the state and conflicting but non-binding opinions from Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel in 2013 and his successor, Leslie Rutledge in 2015 on carrying openly without a license.

The exchange comes at a time when Hutchinson, a Republican, is facing a potential fight for his job against polarizing gun range owner Jan Morgan, perhaps best known for declared her business, the Gun Cave Indoor Firing Range, a “Muslim-free” zone. In response to the Governor’s recent interest in Act 746, Morgan took to social media and said the question is not of open carry, but of unrestricted constitutional carry.

“Problem is, he forgot to look up the definition of constitutional carry … and he proceeded to say that means people can open carry but still need a permit to conceal carry,” said Morgan. “Would someone on the Governor’s high paid staff please enlighten him on the definition of Constitutional Carry?”

Currently 12 states, to include Arkansas neighbors Mississippi and Missouri, practice constitutional carry doctrines.


  • Johnny Nightrider

    I think all states should have concealed carry and open carry as long as you’re a U.S. citizen and have no felonies or misdemeanor laws preventing you from owning a firearm.Certain places like police stations,courthouses,bars,and government buildings should have no open or concealed carry for citizens.I live in California and now you can buy recreational marijuana in certain places.It’s a trip what gets passed and what doesn’t in liberal California.

    • Joe

      All Conservatives should leave California, and teach Brown a lesson on how he’s going to feed all the illegals HE let in. Don’t the People in California have the right to vote ?, doesn’t seem like it.

  • Joe

    Any efforts by the Radical left to stop cow or open carry, would make them the biggest Hypocrites that they already are.
    We the People have every right to protect our families and self, against any and all enemies foreign and Domestic.

  • myfordtruck

    It should be allowed to carry that has a clean record and sound mind and has A little training

    • gejoslin

      Have you read the Bill of Rights? 2nd Amendment, ” Shall not be infringed” comes to mind!

      • cyberscan

        Too bad there isn’t a love button. When government decides who is “good enough” to be able to exercise rights, then the people have no rights at all.

        • myfordtruck

          I am just talking about people I would not want around Me or My Wife or grandchildren I would think you would want the same thing Around your family

      • myfordtruck

        I was talking about enough training to know how to shoot and not allowing violent people right out of prison such as that

  • David F Lanphere

    There are some real Americans left in our Republic. The leftist Deep State globalist/progressives, who infect our Republic, need to be aware that they are losing power, and the real patriots are alive and well.