The Searcy Daily Citizen reports today that Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balentine’s personal truck was burned around midnight Monday and someone also spray-painted “2nd Amendment” on both sides of the Dodge Ram.
Balentine told the newspaper he did not believe Richard Chambless was responsible. He is the man Balentine arrested for taking a holstered gun into a local McDonald’s. Chambless was convicted of disorderly conduct and carrying a weapon. He will appeal. He’s among those who contend that a hotly disputed 2013 law legalized open carry in Arkansas. Whether it did or not, private property owners have a right to deny open carry on their premises.
Balentine did more than arrest Chambless to stir up gun toters in August. He said he would talk to businesses about his concerns about open carry and urge them to put “guns prohibited” signs on their doors.
The Daily Citizen quoted Balentine:
“One of my jobs is to protect and serve the citizens. The issue I have with open carry is there are no regulations on it — a felon can tote a gun. There are no regulations at all and I think that is a big issue and a concern.”
Balentine said he supported ownership and carrying of handguns, but favored regulations, such as those that come with obtaining a concealed carry permit.
“I’m pro-gun. I’ve hunted my whole life. I have been around guns my whole life. My family has been around guns. That’s something that I have always done, but I do think you have to use some sort of common sense with a handgun. I think if you are walking down the road or you are going into a business with a gun, you are causing an alarm. You are causing an annoyance. You have brought attention to yourself, and I think that is where the issue arises.”
He defended his arrest of Chambless.
“I feel like when I was called to the McDonald’s — I have repeated it back in my head — to make sure 100 percent that I took the right steps. I don’t see any other way than what I did to protect the citizens and the community. If this subject had gone in and shot that McDonald’s up or killed a bunch of people then I would have had to live with that for the rest of my life. As a chief of police and a trained law enforcement officer, I am not going to let that happen.”