KFSM reports that Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and, for good measure, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, believe open carry is now the law of Arkansas.
They align themselves — again — with those who believe a 2013 law intended to clean up statutory provisions on allowing people to carry a weapon “on a journey” actually — by a trick or mistake of drafting — legalized open carry of firearms just about anywhere and anytime.
Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion saying that was NOT what the law did. But various prosecutors and law officers are interpreting it that way and, as yet, no one has been successfully prosecuted for open carry.
The lieutenant governor’s opinion is of little consequence given the powerless nature of his office. But the attorney general?
Ruttledge, a Republican, told 5NEWS on Monday (June 1) she believes Act 746 allows for open carry.
“I interpret it to mean an individual may carry so long as he or she does so without the intent to unlawfully employ it against another person,” she said in a prepared statement. “But anytime law enforcement and citizens disagree on a law we need to ensure there is clarity to protect our citizens. I am committed to working with the General Assembly to clarify any confusion surrounding Act 746 and its intent.”
So the questions:
1) Where is Rutledge’s official opinion on the subject countermanding McDaniel? Attorney general opinions don’t have the force of law — as you can see clearly from sheriffs and others who are ignoring McDaniel. But still.
2) Bigger question: if, as both Griffin and Rutledge say, there’s some dispute about what the law means, why in the Sam Browning didn’t they or somebody move in the 2015 session to clarify the matter? Why did the open carry crowd — parading the streets not so long ago — suddenly go silent, only to rev up now that the legislature is over?
Are we really going to let the gun nuts at open carry bully this into law by such as this? The legislature in 2013 flatly rejected an open carry bill. That’s a matter of record. I’d be the first to concede the legislature’s is different now and far more likely to follow our shoot-em-up neighbor on the other side of Stateline in Texarkana and approve open carry as Texas did.
So why not just do it, instead of pandering to the open carry crowd and pronouncing off-the-cuff legal opinions? Settle it. An ancillary question is this: If the law lifted gun regulation as the backers claim, what other gun prohibitions did it lift? How about open carry in the Capitol? Isn’t it time? More guns can only make lawmakers safer, right? I like the idea of a gallery filled with Arkies with strap-ons as legislators debate below. What could go wrong?
PS — A reader notes the attorney general’s office has long had a sign prohibiting guns on the premises.
General Rutledge, TEAR DOWN THAT SIGN!
PPS — I look forward to more stories like this from Georgia where a gun nut was hacked because he got hassled at the Atlanta airport for taking an AR-15 to see his daughter off on a trip. The nerve of police for being concerned!