Open carry, life-begins-at-conception bills filed


LITTLE ROCK — Anyone with a concealed handgun permit could carry a weapon in the open under legislation filed Wednesday.

House Bill 1408 by Rep. Sue Scott, R-Rogers, would replace the state’s current concealed-carry law with an open-carry statute.

“It lets us do what our Second Amendment right lets us do,” Scott said. “This is what we’ve needed for a long time.”

Under the bill, applicants for a handgun permit would have to go through the same licensing process now required for a concealed-carry license. The measure would continue to prohibit handguns in several locations, including government offices, private property where the owner forbids them, on school campuses and some establishments were alcohol is sold.

Open-carry permits would be valid for five years, according to the bill. If the measure becomes law, it would immediately covert the nearly 130,000 concealed-carry permits in effect in Arkansas to open-carry licenses.

House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, said Wednesday he does not support open carry of handguns.

“I don’t want to live in a world where everybody’s walking around with holsters on their hips and carrying guns out in the open,” he said.

Also Wednesday, Sen. Jim Hendren, R-Gravette, filed Senate Bill 417, which would change the definition of “unborn child” in the criminal code and in wrongful death actions.

Currently, the term is defined in those contexts as “a living fetus of 12 weeks or greater gestation.” Hendren’s bill would change the definition to “offspring of human beings from conception until birth.”