Legislative Roundup: Guns Become Automatic Issue With General Assembly

by Mark Carter  on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

Sue Scott

The 89th General Assembly has yet to finish writing its chapter in the big book of Arkansas state legislatures.

But if Chapter 89 were printed this week, then surely “guns” would be in the title. Legislation devoted to guns dominated the action again last week.

The legislature overwhelmingly approved Senate Bill 131 by Sen. Bruce Holland, R-Greenwood, that would make secret the names of those 130,000 or so Arkansans registered to carry concealed weapons.

Gov. Mike Beebe said Thursday that he wouldn’t veto the measure, but he wouldn’t sign it either. So Lt. Gov.  Mark Darr signed the bill instead on Friday as Beebe attended the National Governors Association in Washington, D.C.

Beebe had cited its constitutionality and its one-sided legislative support, but said he believes it’s unnecessary to change the 2009 compromise law that made only the names and home ZIP codes of concealed carriers open to public disclosure.

Open Carry

Concealed carry permits would automatically revert to open carry under a bill filed last week by freshman Rep. Sue Scott, R-Rogers.

House Bill 1408 would make it legal to openly carry a gun except for certain locations such as government offices, bars and private properties where owners don’t allow it.

The bill has 18 co-sponsors in the House and one in the Senate, and four of the 19 are Democrats. However, House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, opposes the bill.

If passed, it would mandate the same permitting process and background check used for concealed carry. The measure awaits consideration in the House Judiciary Committee.

Campus Cops

The House approved and the Senate last week advanced legislation by Rep. Mark Biviano, R-Searcy, that would allow the state’s 11 private colleges and universities to create a campus police force with arrest and detention powers.



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