SHERMAN TATE: Opposed gun resolution

An effort to declare by resolution that no permit is required to carry a weapon in Arkansas, concealed or unconcealed, ran out of time this morning.

Rep. Brandt Smith proposed the resolution to “clarify” the law. As Rep. Charles Blake made clear, you clarify law by passing laws, not resolutions. A resolution should have no effect on judicial interpretations of statutes. Although with our courts, you never know.

The gunners think at least one appellate decision and a handful of failed prosecutions stand for the proposition that Arkansas has no law prohibiting open carry and, furthermore, no justification for requiring a permit for concealed carry. Asked about the “enhanced carry” permit recently adopted to allow concealed carry on college campuses, advocates for the measure said the resolution wouldn’t be a problem because the enhanced carry law refers to places where guns are prohibited. So, the argument seemed to be, you’d need that permit to evade laws otherwise specifically prohibiting carry.

Sherman Tate argued for the proposition that Arkansas residents, on the whole, want fewer guns and safer practices, not more guns. He said encouragement of more people carrying guns only encourages situations in which those with guns might have the freedom to read an “intent” sufficient to fire. 

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As debate continued, proponents moved for immediate consideration, but the motion failed because even some supporters noted that a number of people who’d signed up to speak had not been heard. The meeting then adjourned because it was time for the House to convene.     Much more to come on this one. It’s a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing except, likely, the legislature’s continued general obedience to the noisy gun lobby over a silent majority of Americans who favor better gun safety laws. If the idea is so popular, you’d just think they’d introduce unlimited carry legislation and be done with it.

Among other remarks, an emotional Rep. Cindy Crawford (R-Fort Smith) spoke for the need for “clarity.” She said she didn’t know when she first came to Little Rock that she COULD carry a gun. Supporters of Smith say they carry openly and by concealment and don’t obtain permits.