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Arkansas: House Judiciary Committee Doesn’t Trust Gun Owners!

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Thursday, February 10, the House Judiciary Committee voted to kill House Bill 1051, the Open Carry Bill introduced by state Representative Denny Altes (R-63). NRA testified in support of the legislation, and answered numerous questions regarding the reasons this bill was necessary, as well as clarifying what it would and would not do.  It was pointed out that Arkansas is one of only seven states that prohibit all forms of openly carrying a handgun for personal protection.  In other words, 43 states trust their law-abiding residents more than Arkansas trusts its own.  It was also pointed out that in the 43 states that allow some form of Open Carry, law-abiding citizens who choose to carry openly have not been a problem. 

Unfortunately, public opposition from Governor Mike Beebe (D) and opposing testimony during the hearing from various Arkansas law enforcement organizations led to the House Judiciary Committee defeating this legislation.  While some Committee members promised to call for a recorded vote to ensure a public record, they still proceeded with a simple voice vote.  State Representative Kim Hammer (R-28) made the motion to kill the bill, but it is difficult to determine how other legislators voted.  Please take a moment to contact members of the House Judiciary Committee to express your disappointment that this pro-Second Amendment bill was defeated. 

Please also ask Committee Members how they voted on HB 1051, and request that they give you a response in writing. If you receive a response, please forward it to NRA-ILA.  You can contact the NRA-ILA Grassroots Division at 1-800-392-8683 for information on how to forward what you receive. For a listing of members of the House Judiciary Committee, please click here

On a more positive note, Senate Bill 115—which would prohibit a unit of local government from imposing restrictions on the transfer, transportation, or carrying of firearms during a declared state of emergency—passed out of the Senate Committee on City, County, and Local Affairs on Tuesday, February 8.  This legislation, introduced by state Senator Bill Sample (R-19), is now set for Third Reading on the Senate floor on Monday, February 14. 

Please contact your state Senator and respectfully urge him or her to support SB 115. Contact information can be found by clicking here.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.