Fayetteville Police To Look At Open Carry Incidents On Case By Case Basis
(KFSM) – Fayetteville police will look at each open carry incident on a case by case basis, authorities say.
Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams said he met with Fayetteville Police Chief Greg Tabor, and both agreed that Fayetteville’s policy on open carry should align with Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder’s opinion on the issue. In 2013, the sheriff agreed with then-Prosecuting Attorney John Threet that open carry was permitted in Washington County.
Threet, who later won election as a Circuit Court judge, said he didn’t plan on prosecuting gun owners who openly carry firearms in Washington County. Helder said he would use Threet’s opinion in instructing his deputies on the legality of firearm open carry.
Williams said if someone is causing problems while openly carrying a firearm, they can be arrested.
In every instance of someone openly carrying a firearm within Fayetteville city limits, criminal intent will have to be looked at by authorities, according to the Fayetteville Police Department.
This all comes after Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin both said they believe open carry is legal under Arkansas law.
In addition to Rutledge and Griffin, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas law does not prohibit openly carrying a handgun as long as the person with the gun doesn’t intend to commit a crime.
The governor addressed the issue when 5NEWS asked him about it in an interview in Bentonville on Friday (June 5). Hutchinson was attending a ceremony for graduates of Circuit Judge Tom Smith’s Drug and Veterans Courts.
The governor added he is not in favor of seeing large numbers of people carrying handguns openly.
“I don’t want a society in which everybody is open carrying, so I think it’s not something you encourage,” he said. “I think you have to evaluate it in terms of what the constitutional rights are and what the law is.”