Gun-rights advocates said Saturday’s open-carry awareness walk in Van Buren was designed to clarify recently passed Arkansas legislation.
"The attorney general’s office and the Arkansas State Police are attempting to confuse the public," said Steve Jones, chairman of Arkansas Carry, a statewide gun-rights group.
Arkansas Carry, a group advocating for fewer restrictions on gun possession laws, believes Act 746 allows for open carry of a handgun in Arkansas. The act, which made technical revisions to Arkansas’ gun laws, was approved in the recent General Assembly.
However, Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion July 8 saying that Act 746 does not make legal the open carry of a handgun. The law took effect Aug. 16.
"What we are doing here today is not illegal," Jones said. "What the attorney general is doing is a disservice to law enforcement across the state."
Crawford County Prosecuting Attorney Marc McCune is one of several prosecutors across the state who disagree with the AG’s opinion.
"My office will not be prosecuting these cases unless we can prove the mental state: ‘for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun,’" McCune has said.
At Saturday’s rally, Bryan Hull of Oklahoma City said recently passed legislation allows law-abiding citizens to carry a gun for their own protection.
"Carry with pride," he said. "Don’t be afraid. The law is clear and the attorney general is an idiot. We are on solid ground."
The 35-40 gun-rights advocates walked from Municipal Complex west to Cane Hill before returning east on Main Street.
No problems were reported.