Arkansas Gun Laws
Monday, April 6, 2020
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION -- Article 2, Section 5.
“The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.”
Gun Laws Overview
|RIFLES & SHOTGUNS||HANDGUNS|
|Licensing of Owners||No||No|
|Permit to Carry||No||No*|
|Permit to Purchase||No||No|
|Registration of Firearms||No||No|
* This rests on court rulings. State law prohibits carrying a handgun with the "purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun ... as a weapon against a person;" Ark. Code 5-73-120(a). Courts have interpreted this as requiring the possessor of a handgun to have an unlawful intent to employ it as a weapon against a person in order to make that possession a criminal act. See the section on "Carrying," below.
The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information. We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change. The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include: restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.
|Right to Carry Confidentiality||Provisions Enacted|
|Right to Carry in Restaurants||Partial Ban|
|Right To Carry Laws||No Permit Required|
|Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition||Outright Recognition|
|Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions||With Provisions|
RECIPROCITY NOTES: Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan and South Carolina recognize ONLY an Arkansas RESIDENT Permit.
Arkansas State Police: http://www.asp.state.ar.us/divisions/rs/rs_chl_law.html#rec
Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms
Purchase and Possession
No state permit is required for the purchase or possession of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.MORE
Possession or ownership of any firearm is unlawful for any person who has been:
It is unlawful to sell, give, rent, or otherwise furnish a firearm to a person under 18 without the consent of a parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the general supervision of the minor’s welfare.
State law makes the parent or guardian of a minor criminally responsible for the minor’s possession of a firearm in certain cases. If a parent or guardian knows that the minor is in illegal possession of a firearm at the premises of a public or private school, or at a public or private school's athletic stadium or other facility or building in which school-sponsored events are conducted, or at a public park, playground, or civic center, and the parent or guardian fails to either prevent the illegal possession or report it to an appropriate school or law enforcement official, the failure is a misdemeanor offense. Ark. Code § 5-27-210.
Possession of firearms in fields, forests, along streams, or in any location known to be game cover shall be considered prima facie evidence that the possessor is hunting. It is unlawful to refuse or to fail to immediately surrender for inspection any weapon on request of a wildlife officer or other person authorized to enforce regulations of the (game) Commission.LESS
Ark. Code § 5-73-120(a) makes it a crime to carry a handgun, knife, or club on or about the person or in a vehicle or “otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.”
The Arkansas Court of Appeals, in a 2018 decision, Taff v. State, 2018 Ark. App. 488 (Ark. 2018) (https://opinions.arcourts.gov/ark/courtofappeals/en/346005/1/document.do) ruled that “[u]nder the clear language of section 5-73-120(a), the possessor of a handgun must have an unlawful intent to employ it as a weapon against a person in order to make that possession a criminal act. Under the rule of lenity, any doubts as to the interpretation of a criminal statute are resolved in favor of the defendant.” The State did not appeal the ruling.
Section § 5-73-120(a) has not been amended following the Taff decision, but in 2019, both houses of the Arkansas General Assembly passed resolutions with identical wording, declaring that Arkansas is a constitutional carry state, “with no permit required to carry a handgun, either unconcealed or concealed”; see H.R. Res. 1013 and S. Res. 18, 92d Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (Ark. 2019).MORE
In addition to the federal prohibitions on persons who cannot lawfully possess or acquire a firearm, Arkansas law prohibits the following persons from possessing or owning a firearm: any person convicted of a felony (including cases where the court suspended sentence or placed the defendant on probation) unless the case was dismissed or expunged or the person was pardoned; anyone who has been adjudicated mentally ill; and those who have been committed involuntarily to any mental institution.
No person under 18 years of age may possess a handgun, unless the minor falls within the exemptions listed at Ark. Code § 5-73-119(e), including lawfully hunting, or participating in a school-approved educational course or sporting activity involving the use of firearms, or engaging in a lawful marksmanship competition or practice or other lawful recreational shooting under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian (or traveling to or from this activity with an unloaded handgun or firearm accompanied by a parent or legal guardian), or possession within the minor's own dwelling or place of business or on property in which the minor has a possessory or proprietary interest, or while participating in a certified hunting safety course or a firearm safety course recognized and approved by the State Game and Fish Commission or by a state or national nonprofit organization qualified and experienced in firearm safety.
An application for a license to carry a handgun concealed is made to the Arkansas State Police. The license is valid throughout the state for 5 years from the date of issuance. The licensee must carry the license, or an electronic copy of the license in an "acceptable electronic format," together with valid identification, at any time when the licensee is carrying a concealed handgun. An "acceptable electronic format" means an electronic image produced on the person's own cellular phone or other type of portable electronic device that displays all of the information on a concealed handgun license as clearly as the original concealed handgun license.
In 2017, Arkansas created a license “endorsement.” A licensee who completes a separate training course approved by the Director of the Division of Arkansas State Police and receives the endorsement is eligible to carry a concealed handgun in otherwise restricted places, including certain publicly-owned buildings or facilities under Ark. Code § 5-73-122, a meeting place of the governing body of any governmental entity, state offices, athletic events not related to firearms, places of worship, and public college or university campus buildings, provided that the private entities (like bars, private colleges and universities or places of worship) have not themselves opted to restrict firearms on their property. Persons with the endorsement cannot carry within a posted “firearm-sensitive area” that has been approved by the Department of Arkansas State Police and located at: the Arkansas State Hospital, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, or a collegiate athletic event.
Licensees without a license endorsement and others cannot carry a concealed handgun into any of the places listed in Ark. Code § 5-73-306 – generally, any police station, sheriff's station, or Arkansas State Police station; any Arkansas Highway Police Division of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department facility; any detention facility, prison, or jail; a courthouse or courtroom; any part of an establishment, except a restaurant as defined by law, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises or where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises; schools and places of higher education; a parade or demonstration requiring a permit where the person is a participant in the parade or demonstration, and other places listed in the section.
Private property owners/proprietors may post their premises as places where carrying a handgun is prohibited with signage as required by law. The written notice must be clearly readable at a distance of not less than ten feet and state that “carrying a handgun is prohibited.” A written notice is not required for a private home, but any licensee entering a private home must notify the occupant that the licensee is carrying a concealed handgun.
Please note that the above is not a comprehensive summary as the state law on “prohibited places” for carrying handguns and other firearms is complex.
The Arkansas State Police has posted a list of places where carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited, and any exceptions, at https://static.ark.org/eeuploads/asp/PP_Table_11_30_17a.pdf
Pursuant to Ark. Code § 5-73-127, it is unlawful to possess a loaded center-fire weapon, other than a shotgun and other than in a residence or business of the owner, in the listed parts of Baxter County, Benton County, Benton and Carroll Counties, Conway County, Garland County, Marion County, and a platted subdivision located in an unincorporated area. This does not apply to persons with a valid concealed carry license, law enforcement, center-fire weapons at a firing range maintained for the discharging of a center-fire weapon, and the discharge of a firearm in defense of a person or property within the areas.
It is unlawful to transport a firearm in a boat at night, unless it is unloaded and cased. Ark. Admin. Code 002.00.1-05.06.
Any person in possession of a valid license issued by another state to carry a concealed handgun shall be entitled to the privileges and subject to the restrictions prescribed by Arkansas’ concealed handgun law.LESS
Arkansas statutes are silent on antique and replica firearms. They are treated as ordinary firearms for possession and carrying purposes.
A machine gun is defined as a weapon of any description by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded from which more than five shots or bullets may be rapidly, or automatically, or semi-automatically discharged from a magazine, by a single function of the firing device.MORE
A shooting range may not be held liable in a civil lawsuit or criminal action based on a claim of noise or noise pollution.MORE
Ark. Code § 16-105-502. Sport shooting ranges; exemptions from nuisance and noise pollution suits
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a person who operates or uses a sport shooting range in this state shall not be subject to civil liability or criminal prosecution for noise or noise pollution resulting from the operation or use of the range if the range is in compliance with noise control ordinances of local units of government that applied to the range and its operation at the time the range was constructed and began operation.
(b) A person who operates or uses a sport shooting range is not subject to an action for nuisance, and no court of the state may enjoin the use or operation of a range on the basis of noise or noise pollution, if the range is in compliance with noise control ordinances of units of local government that applied to the range and its operation at the time the range was constructed and began operation.
(c) A person who subsequently acquires title to or who owns real property adversely affected by the use of property with a permanently located sport shooting range shall not maintain a nuisance action against the person who owns the range to restrain, enjoin, or impede the use of the range unless there has been a substantial change in the nature of the use of the range or by a person using the range.
(d) Rules adopted by any state agency for establishing levels of noise allowable in the outdoor atmosphere shall not apply to a sport shooting range exempted from liability under this subchapter.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to limit civil liability except in the limited case of noise pollution.
In addition, Ark. Code § 14-1-101 directs that a sport shooting range or sports facility that is not in violation of a state law or an ordinance of a local unit of government prior to the enactment of a new ordinance affecting the range or facility may continue to operate even if, at or after the time of enactment of the new ordinance affecting the range or facility, the operation is not in compliance with the new ordinance. A “sport shooting range” means an area designed and operated for the use of rifles, shotguns, pistols, silhouettes, skeet, trap, black powder, or any other similar sport shooting.
A local unit of government (a county, city of the first class, city of the second class, or incorporated town) may not prohibit a sport shooting range or sports facility that was in existence as of August 12, 2005, from expanding or enhancing its membership or opportunities for public participation, or reasonably expanding or increasing facilities or activities, or making repairs, reconstructing, rebuilding any of its buildings or improvements within its existing geographic boundaries if the work is necessary in the interest of public safety or to secure the continued use of the range or facility, or rebuilding and resuming activities where the facility or building was damaged by fire, collapse, explosion, act of nature, or act of war occurring after August 12, 2005 and the rebuilding or reconstruction occurs within one year of the date of the damage or settlement of any property damage claim. If reconstruction, repair, or rebuilding is not completed within one year, the reconstruction, repair, or rebuilding may be terminated in the discretion of the local unit of government.LESS
A local unit of government may not enact or enforce any ordinance or regulation affecting firearms or ammunition, except as allowed by state law.MORE
Under Ark. Code §§ 14-16-504(b)(1) and 14-54-1411(b)(1), a “local unit of government” (a city, town, or county) is prohibited from enacting any ordinance or regulation pertaining to “the ownership, transfer, transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms, ammunition for firearms, or components of firearms, except as otherwise provided in state or federal law.”
An amendment to § 14-16-504(c)(1) in 2011 deleted an exception for emergencies and now reads: “The governing body of a local unit of government, following the proclamation by the Governor of a state of emergency, is prohibited from enacting an emergency ordinance regulating the transfer, transportation, or carrying of firearms or components of firearms.” A person who has his or her firearm seized in violation of this prohibition may bring an action in the circuit court having jurisdiction for the return of the seized firearm.
One exception to the preemption statute allows ordinances regulating or forbidding the unsafe discharge of a firearm. Pursuant to Ark. Code § 14-16-501, the governing body of a suburban improvement district (as defined) may ask a county to regulate, by ordinance, the discharge of firearms and the shooting of archery equipment within all or any part of the suburban improvement district. Similarly, under § 14-16-502, a property owners’ association (with a population at least equal to that prescribed for cities of the first class and which is located outside the boundaries of a municipality) may ask a county to regulate, through an ordinance, the discharge of firearms and the shooting of archery equipment within all or any part of the area included in the property owners’ association.
Under Ark. Code §§ 14-16-504(b)(2) and 14-54-1411(b)(2), local units of government are specifically restricted from suing and seeking damages or other relief against any firearm or ammunition manufacturer, trade association, or dealer resulting from or relating to the lawful design, manufacture, marketing, or sale of firearms or ammunition to the public. This does not prevent a local unit of government from bringing suit against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer or dealer for breach of contract or warranty as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the local unit of government.
Ark. Code § 14-1-101(c) allows a local unit of government to regulate “the location and construction of a sport shooting range or sports facility” as permitted in that section.LESS
Restoration of Rights
Arkansas allows restoration of firearm rights lost due to a criminal conviction. There is no specific restoration process for persons who are prohibited due to an adjudication or commitment for mental illness.MORE
State law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from possessing or acquiring a firearm, including a suspended imposition of sentence or probation). Ark. Code § 5-73-103(a)(1), (b)(1) (what constitutes a “conviction”).
This firearm prohibition does not apply to a conviction:
Ark. Code § 5-73-309(5) makes any person convicted of a felony ineligible for a concealed carry license, but this does not apply to an applicant who has been granted a pardon by the governor or the President of the United States explicitly restoring his or her ability to possess a firearm; or an applicant sentenced prior to March 13, 1995, where the record of conviction has been sealed or expunged under Arkansas law; or to an applicant whose offense was dismissed and sealed or expunged under § 16-93-301 et seq. or § 16-98-303(g).
For additional information on pardons, sealing and expungements of records in Arkansas, see https://ccresourcecenter.org/restoration/LESS
It is unlawful to deface the serial number or identification mark of a firearm, or to knowingly possess such a firearm.MORE
It is unlawful to shoot from or across a public road or right of way.
A local unit of government shall not enact any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any other manner, the ownership, transfer, transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms, ammunition for firearms, or components of firearms, except as otherwise provided in state or federal law. This shall not prevent the enactment of an ordinance regulating or forbidding the unsafe discharge of a firearm.
Only the State of Arkansas has the authority to bring suit against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer or dealer, however in a proclamation by the Governor of a state of emergency, the governing body of a local unit of government may enact an emergency ordinance regulating firearms.
A local unit of government shall not enact impose any restriction on firearm ownership or possession during a declared state of emergency.LESS
Sources: Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-73-101 through § 5-73-402.
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