Fairfax, VA.- Arkansas gun owners celebrated today as Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed House Bill 1249 into law. Providing more protection for gun owners, HB 1249 creates an enhanced carry permit system that allows licensees to carry firearms in most gun-free zones. Licensees would generally not be prohibited from carrying a concealed handgun into or on the following places:
- Public college and university campuses
- Public buildings other than courtrooms, K-12 schools, and correction facilities
- Any meeting place of the governing body of any governmental entity
- Any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly
- Any state office
- Any athletic event not related to firearms
- Any portion of an establishment, except a restaurant as defined in § 3-5-1202, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
- Any portion of an establishment, except a restaurant as defined in § 3-5-1202, where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises
- Inside the passenger terminal of any airport
- Any church or other place of worship
- Any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, and the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration
“Only criminals can find safety in gun-free zones,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “By allowing enhanced permit holders to carry in more places, Gov. Hutchinson has made Arkansas a safer place to live.”
HB 1249 was originally introduced as a limited campus carry bill. After weeks of hearings and negotiations, the legislation evolved to provide significant benefits for law-abiding citizens who choose to upgrade their concealed carry license. With the enhanced permits, licensees are better able to exercise their right to self-defense if attacked by violent criminals.
“On behalf of the NRA's five million members, we thank Gov. Hutchinson, Rep. Collins, as well as leaders in the House and Senate for their efforts to expand the recognition of the constitutionally protected right to self-defense for law abiding Arkansans,” Cox concluded.
Enhanced permits will be available in early 2018.