Mike Beebe: Darr Signing Gun Bill Was 'Inappropriate'

by Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press  on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 1:13 pm  

With Gov. Mike Beebe out of the state, Lt. Gov. Mark Darr signed into law a bill that would make secret the names of concealed carry permit holders as bill sponsors Sen. Bruce Holland (left), R-Greenwood, and Rep. Andy Davis, R-Little Rock, looked on. Beebe on Tuesday criticized Darr for signing the bill in his absence. (Submitted photo)

LITTLE ROCK - Gov. Mike Beebe on Tuesday criticized Lt. Gov. Mark Darr for making secret the list of Arkansas residents allowed to carry concealed weapons, saying the Republican "embarrassed himself" by signing the legislation while the governor was out of state.

The Democratic governor told reporters he'll be more careful about leaving the state after Darr signed a bill making the concealed carry permit list secret. Beebe had opposed the measure, but announced last week that he would let it go into law Monday without his signature.

"It's totally inappropriate for him to sign it," Beebe said at the state Capitol. "I always thought we had a pretty decent relationship. Obviously, I'll be much more careful. You can't turn your back now."

Darr signed the bill into law on Friday, while Beebe was at the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington. Darr said he believed the measure deserved a signature and should take effect immediately.

"He didn't embarrass me. He embarrassed himself," Beebe said.

In a statement, Darr said he  respects the office of the Governor and the state Constitution, "but mostly I respect the citizens of Arkansas and the 130,000 citizens that are now protected under this law."

"It is important to remember that Act 145 received a tremendous amount of support from the Arkansas Legislature with a vote of 84 to 9 in the House and 24 to 9 in the Senate," Darr said. 

Lieutenant governor is a largely ceremonial post in Arkansas, and those elected to the post have rarely signed legislation. The last time was in 2003, when then-Lt. Gov. Win Rockefeller approved a special license plate honoring the Boy Scouts of America.

Beebe compared Darr's actions to those of former Senate President Jerry Jewell, who in 1993 granted executive clemency to two convicts and granted pardons to two other people, leading to major changes in how clemency requests are handled.

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