Russellville Police Won’t Make Arrests Solely For Openly Carrying A Firearm

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RUSSELLVILLE (KFSM) – The Russellville Police Department won’t make any arrests solely for openly carrying a firearm, authorities said.

On Tuesday afternoon (June 9), Public Information Officer Drew Latch said the department’s policy on the open carry of firearms was the same as the Pope County Sheriff’s Office. 

The sheriff’s office announced on June 3 that it won’t arrest anyone just for openly carrying a firearm. With that said, Pope County deputies will look at each case individually and make a determination on whether an arrest for carrying an openly displayed weapon should be made, based on evidence of criminal intent, according to the sheriff’s office.

Facts and circumstances from each individual case will be weighed “carefully” based on Arkansas law, the sheriff’s office said.

Sheriffs in Johnson, Benton, Washington, and Sebastian counties have all made similar statements.

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.”