Gun zealots are ramping up their effort to force something definitive on their belief that the Arkansas legislature legalized open carry of weapons — anywhere, anytime — in Arkansas.
They plan to turn out in force carrying weapons at 9 a.m. Aug. 24 in Fort Smith, where the local police chief apparently agrees that new legislation viewed by most legislators as a technical correction actually opened the door to unlimited open carry
The group known as Arkansas Carry has announced it will “host the first legal armed citizen assembly in decades (possibly the first such armed gathering since the Civil War) in Fort Smith.”
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has said Act 746 did not legalize open carry, but merely redefined a “journey” under long-standing law about weapons possession. The gun fetishists have rejected this interpretation. Some legislators even say they were in on the trick all along and intended for this bill to legalize open carry. That’s contrary to what other sponsors say, however, and some indication of a widespread belief along those lines lies in the legislature’s defeat of a pure open carry bill.
Arkansas Carry quotes Fort Smith Police Chief Kevin Lindsey as saying his department would not enforce the act based on McDaniel’s opinion and also quotes him as saying Prosecutor John Settle believed that merely carrying a weapon unconcealed is not enough to cause an arrest. Under McDaniel’s opinion carrying a weapon is legal only on a journey outside one’s county.
The one-hour walk will begin on the east side of Fort Smith at Massard Road and Zero Street. Only members of Arkansas Carry will be allowed to participate, said organizer Steve Jones in an article he’s posted on-line.