Open Carry And Concealed Carry: What Is The New Regulations?
To legally have a gun, you must normally be a U.S. citizen. You don't need a license for rifles or shotguns and generally you aren't required to registered your guns. However, it's important to note that in open carrying a gun you are much more likely to encounter police officers. If you carry a gun in your hands, even if you are just going for a walk in the park, chances are good you will run into some trouble with the law.
In mid-January 2021, the Obama administration proposed two new pieces of legislation that would dramatically change the way that people were able to possess a gun in the state of North Dakota. The first was called the Open Carry and Concealed Carry Act and the second was called the North Dakota Protecting Lawful Citizens' Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act. Both of these bills were highly controversial and caused great debate in the statehouse and throughout the country. At the end of January, the North Dakota legislature passed both pieces of legislation into law. At that point, it was up to the governor to sign or not sign the bills into law.
Two weeks later the North Dakota Supreme Court found that both measures violated the constitutional rights of the citizens of North Dakota. Because neither measure was enacted by the legislature, they were declared unenforceable. Because there was no quorum, the court found that the legislature was required to pass each measure with a three-fourths majority vote, or else the measure was deemed null and void. On July 21, the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld that decision. In a unanimous decision, the court noted that both measures were meant to be constitutional in the state, but that it was not effective July 21, 2021.
In early August, the Senate voted to approve a Constitutional Carry Bill which would expand the right of carrying firearms in public. Although the bill passed, the House will still have to concur before the bill becomes a law. The House has until the end of August to adopt or reject the legislation. If the House does not accept the amendments, then the Senate will have two months from the adoption date to reconcile the differences.
On July 16, a bill was introduced in the Arkansas state legislature that would amend the open carry and concealed carry laws. The newly proposed legislation would have the same effect as the Connecticut and Maryland bills, which currently are the only states in the United States that have such restrictive laws on carrying firearms. The new proposed legislation would have open-carry and concealed-carry laws placed on the same page. Specifically, the act would have all open-carry laws voided, and the concealed-carry law could only be applied to one specific instance. For example, if a person was lawfully permitted to have a firearm in Arizona, but in Arkansas would have to take the weapon out of its holster during the actual day of the act, the person could only have a concealed weapon when they had written permission from the court that they could have a concealed weapon.
Open-carry and concealed weapons permit holders in Arkansas already face some significant restrictions when it comes to transporting their guns. A person cannot take their gun out of its holster or storage area (in most cases, inside of a vehicle) unless they are in an area where there are no other individuals or animals who may be injured or disturbed by the gun owner's unlicensed open-carry. Similarly, if a person carries their gun in any other place than their home, they cannot possess a firearm for any period of time unless they obtain a concealable weapons permit, which is different than an open-carry permit.
Currently, the state of Arkansas does not recognize concealed weapons permits. Therefore, it is illegal to own or possess any weapon, except for those which are allowed in several situations, such as hunting or sporting. If an individual gets stopped on suspicion of having a concealed weapon, they cannot lawfully be fingerprinted, photographed, or placed under a guard at the courthouse unless they can show a valid permit from their county that is in line with current open-carry laws. Similarly, if a person transports a weapon in any kind of vehicle, including a vehicle involved in an accident, they may be arrested for violating Arkansas' weapons law and can be held criminally liable for it.
Currently, according to the Arkansas State Rifle Association, twenty-six counties in Arkansas have taken up this issue on their own. Governor Asa Adelemia has expressed support for a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed weapon without obtaining a permit. The legislature has not yet taken up the bill. Hopefully, Februrary will not have to deal with this issue again this year.
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