(1/25/19) LITTLE ROCK, AR – A bill to cut in half Arkansas’s initial concealed carry application fee cleared its first hurdle Thursday by passing out the House Judiciary Committee.

It would cut the cost from $100 to $50 for those younger than 65, and $50 to $25 for those 65 or older.

The bill also reduces the yearly renewal fee from $35 to $25. 

“We’re reducing the fee on folks that have to pay to exercise their constitutional right for self-defense,” says St. Rep. Jim Dotson (R- Bentonville). 

Arkansas State Police, who administers the permits, argue the legislation increases the agency’s vulnerability.

“We really depend on that money,” says Col. Bill Bryant, the Director of Arkansas State Police. 

Col. Bryant says the annual revenue, anywhere from about $3-million to $3.5-million, helps pay for things like salaries. He estimates the legislation would be about a million dollar hit to his budget.

Its sponsor argues this would still be a profitable year for the agency.

“This is a good time to look at this and a good time to help the citizens of the state of Arkansas out with this particular fee,” says St. Rep. Dotson. 

The measure has failed in the past.

The governor has thrown his support behind the bill.