Sheriff: Law Doesn’t Allow Open-Carry

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Benton County Sheriff Kelley Cradduck joins the chorus of law enforcement officials saying people in Arkansas cannot openly carry a handgun.

Swamped with calls, e-mails and Facebook feedback, the sheriff held a news conference Wednesday afternoon (July 10) to clear up confusion about whether a new law says Arkansans can openly pack heat.

Cradduck does not interpret the new law to mean people can openly carry handguns, but says but the interpretation might ultimately be up to a judge to decide.

“I absolutely believe someone will test it and get arrested for it,” he said.

Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has issued an opinion saying Act 746, which was approved this year, does not give people the right to openly carry when they journey out of their home county – as some believe.

Carrying a concealed weapon with a permit is legal but the attorney general says open carry is still illegal.

“If you put the open carry laws with the journey statute all together, they are very different laws,” Cradduck said.

He doesn’t want people to think their gun rights are being taken away.

“I’m a very strong gun right proponent,” Cradduck said. “But the thing is, we are going to go by the attorney general’s opinion.”

Some in Benton County have mixed feelings and worry how the community will react if they see someone openly carrying a gun.

Cradduck says he just wants to clear things up for his county.

“As long as you’re 21, a citizen, not a felon, you can carry your gun in your car on a journey, outside your county but does not let you to carry it openly on a person,” he said.

A seven page letter explaining the details of the new law, Act 746, is available at the Benton County Sheriff’s Office or here.

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