FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- There's some confusion about whether people in Arkansas can openly carry a handgun.
The candidates for governor, Asa Hutchinson (R) and Mike Ross (D), spoke to 5NEWS on Wednesday (Oct. 15), and explained what their views are on whether people can carry guns openly in Arkansas under current law.
“It's my understanding that the legislature passed a law the last session that legalized open carry and basically said that unless you're carrying a weapon for a criminal purpose, that it's not a violation of the law,” Hutchinson said.
“I believe the current law is that open carry is not allowed in Arkansas. If the legislature wants to address that, I’d be receptive to whatever changes they want to do to try to clarify it,” Ross said.
The law Hutchinson and Ross are referring to is Act 746, passed by the Arkansas legislature in the last session. This led to demonstrations from people who interpreted the law to mean they were allowed to open carry.
“I'm not trying to say everybody in our society needs to carry a weapon openly. We, primarily, have emphasized for protection -- the concealed weapon aspect. But there is a constitutional right. It seems to me that's what's in the legislation right now,” Hutchinson said.
"I think there's places where it makes sense, there's places probably where it doesn't make sense. For example, in bars. And so you know, I think it's something -- I guess I’m kind of in a 'wait and see' position,” Ross said.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion stating the act does not allow Arkansans to carry handguns openly.
Asa Hutchinson was at the University of Arkansas Fort Smith for a tour of the campus Wednesday (Oct. 15) and Mike Ross was in town for a judicial council forum, which Hutchinson also attended.
The other people running for governor on the Nov. 4 ballot are Green Party candidate Joshua Drake and Libertarian Frank Gilbert.