Some lawmakers continuing the push for less restrictions on gun rights in Arkansas.
The latest is an effort to do away with the requirement for conceal carry permits.
The sponsors of the bill said people who qualify to buy guns should be able to carry them without a permit, but opponents are already lining up with questions about the impact.
“It’s a good idea so people can actually exercise their Second Amendment right,” said Sen. Trent Garner, R-Eldorado.
Garner is a former Army Green Beret and knows all about the benefits of training but said the conceal carry programs in Arkansas are hit and miss. “There’s a big discrepancy between the different kind of training some people say the training is great, some will say it’s just a check for blockage get done kind of thing.”
Garner’s solution is doing away with the permit requirement and allowing anyone who an legally purchase a gun the ability to carry both openly and concealed.
Austin Bailey is Arkansas Chapter Leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. She said training classes are an essential tool in promoting gun safety.
“To drive your car, you have to prove that you are proficient. You have to get a license. I feel like requiring assume things for public carry of a deadly weapon should have the same requirements,” Bailey said.
Garner believes Arkansans want fewer restrictions. “Once you legally purchase that gun, why are we going to limit where you can carry it and how you can carry it in the state of Arkansas,” Garner said.
Conceal carry permit courses consist of at least five hours of training with instruction on things like when it’s legal to use a gun and how to handle encounters with police. There’s also a requirement for live fire.
“At the very least, we want to feel confident if someone is in public,” Bailey said.
Garner said he doesn’t know how this bill would tie in to another bill he’s sponsoring to allow some conceal carry permit holders to bring their weapons on college campus. That bill is currently being considered by a state senate committee.