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Asa: "Act 746 supports open carry"

Asa Hutchinson at NRA press conference
Asa Hutchinson at NRA press conference
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On his Twitter feed Wednesday evening, Arkansas gubernatorial candidate (and NRA representative) Asa Hutchinson declared that he believes Arkansas Act 746 has legalized open carry in the Natural State. Hutchinson’s full statement as to how he interpreted Act 746, and whether it allowed open carry:

“The courts will ultimately have to decide this, but seems to me that Act 746 supports open carry if not for a criminal purpose.”

An abundance of high-profile politicians in Arkansas have concluded the same as Hutchinson. Curtis Coleman, another Republican candidate for governor, stated weeks ago in even stronger terms:

“I am convinced it (Act 746) allows the unlicensed carrying of a handgun – whether openly or concealed – for self-defense purposes in Arkansas.”

In addition, state Attorney General candidate David Sterling issued this press release recently:

“My interpretation of this statute is that law-abiding Arkansans may legally carry handguns either openly or concealed on their person or in their automobile.”

State Representative Nate Bell, R-Mena, issued a statement on Act 746 in July:

“It was the intent of the sponsors of Act 746 to decriminalize the open carry of a firearm by persons not prohibited from legally possessing the firearm. It’s my belief that the language contained in 5-73-120 (a) will effectively do so when the new law takes effect on August 16.”

The afore-mentioned men consist of a powerful group of Constitution-savvy minds, ones who would not make reckless legal opinions simply for political capitol. Some observers might even say “open carry” could be a very controversial issue for them to weigh in on.

Absent from this conversation is any coherent line of thought that is in opposition to the above interpretations of Act 746. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has provided his opinion on a non-issue “permission” which is provided in Act 746 (called the journey clause), but no other politicians have currently addressed the new definition of the offense of carrying a weapon.

It appears there is a swelling tide of Second Amendment rights washing over the State of Arkansas, one to which the anti-self-defense crowd has no answer.