Gov. Asa Hutchinson also informed prosecutors, through the state prosecutor co-ordinator’s office, of his belief that open carry of guns was legal in Arkansas.
He sent the office a copy of his letter to the State Police directing that agency on enforcement.
Though a number of prosecutors hold a similar view, several apparently thought the governor had overstepped his authority in suggesting law enforcement decisions to elected prosecutors.
Pulaski Prosecutor Larry Jegley of Little Rock said the governor’s letter doesn’t change anything
As a practical matter — and the key reason there’s no Supreme Court law on the point — carrying weapon charges are rarely filed. Jegley said it is the policy of his office to prosecute such a case if a law enforcement officer makes such an arrest and can defend that public safety required it. As yet, he hasn’t had to do so.
Jegley related the experience of an officer who encountered a man carrying a weapon along Kavanaugh Boulevard in the Heights. The officer explained that some authorities believed open carry was legal and some didn’t. But, the officer continued, according to Jegley: ‘”You are causing people some concern. I’d appreciate it if you conceal it or put it away’ and he did.”
Jegley said the reaction of some colleagues to the governor’s letter was: “Is he running for
UPDATE: J.R. Davis, the governor’s spokesman, told me that the letter to prosecutors was sent “as a courtesy — not guidance.” Otherwise, the letter speaks for itself, he said.