LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - A bill that would allow you to carry a gun without a license will be taken up before the legislature even though many say that's already the law in Arkansas.
"I've heard from hundreds of people in my district wanting constitutional carry," said State senator Trent Garner on the reason he filed Senate Bill 444.
The proposed bill is only a sentence long that states "the purpose of this act concerns the carrying and possession of a handgun without a license."
It's no accident Senate Bill 444 is a little lax on the language. Senator Garner said he wanted to have something filed, even if it is just a skeleton bill, in order to make the legislation submission cut off on Monday, March 6.
"What I've heard from is poor Arkansans, who have the gun and would love to carry, but don't have time to take off a day of work, don't have the money to pay the extra $200 to $300 for a fee," Garner said. "They won't be able to exercise their right. I think we should allow them to do so."
But, Representative Greg Leding argued that we should not get rid of the current safe guards and added that some Arkansans already believe open carry is allowed in the state.
"If making the training for concealed carry licenses more accessible is something we need to consider, let's have that conversation," he said. "There was a bill we passed in 2013 that we thought was just cleaning up a little language in a bill, but after we passed it, there were some people that interpreted it as having legalized open carry."
Representative Leding said Act 746 was meant to be only "technical changes" to Arkansas' laws on where you can carry.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has gone on the record to say that open carry is legal in Arkansas as long as you don't plan to use the weapon against another person.
But, law enforcement hasn't always agreed.
"I believe law enforcement would oppose an open carry law, as would the judicial system, as would most responsible gun owners," Leding said. "I really don't feel the appetite for open carry is there."
Garner made it clear that his proposed bill and the campus gun bill are two separate issues. He thinks SB444 is the larger issue and would have a drastically different discussion.
The bill will be in the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.