Arkansas Attorney General Candidates Talk Death Penalty And Open Carry

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FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) - The Arkansas Attorney General race has been a heated one, fueled by political ends in the final weeks of campaign season.

The candidates for the position, Republican Leslie Rutledge, Democrat Nate Steel, and Libertarian Aaron Cash, held a forum at the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday (Oct. 28), where they answered questions from the public.

One of the topics brought up during the forum was death penalty laws in Arkansas.

Cash said he was opposed to the death penalty.

"Life in prison is definitely an adequate punishment, it keeps society safe," Cash said.

The other two candidates said there needs to be reform in the way the death penalty is administered.

"Right now the statute is not the problem, ascertaining the drugs is the problem," Steel said.

"It is a matter of obtaining the drugs,” Rutledge said. “But, it is also a matter of writing the statutes, so that way we can enforce the statutes.”

The other issue brought up by the public was the open carry law in Arkansas.

Steel and Rutledge both agreed the current law is too vague.

“It is not an open carry statute, as I have said many times,” Steele said. “Because, it certainly gives law enforcement the authority to file any kind of charge for carrying a weapon, if they can prove some kind of criminal intent.”

“There has been ambiguity,” Rutledge said. “In terms of law enforcement, and citizens, not being on the same page. That is the role of the attorney general to come in with legislators.”

The questions at the forum were not planned, but there was a moderator. Each candidate had two minutes to answer each question and 30 seconds for rebuttal.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.

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