Things are about to change a bit in Arkansas. Effective Friday, September 1st, new concealed carry laws will be going into effect in that state. However, one of the new changes will be how businesses that don’t want firearms won’t be required to post any kind of signage.
This Friday, Arkansas’ expanded concealed carry law formally goes into effect. People will soon be able to take guns into places they never have before, such as bars, as long as they have an enhanced carry permit.
But once that law goes into effect, it may not be obvious to tell which establishments have opted out of expanded carry as “gun free zones.” A provision in the new law allows businesses to refuse concealed carry without posting signs. Instead, state representative Charlie Collins (R-Fayetteville) says management can communicate one-on-one to customers either verbally or in writing. An example of that would be security or a bouncer working the door of a bar informing customers no concealed weapons allowed.
Collins says allowing businesses that discretion should let them feel comfortable as gun free zones without leaving the people inside as sitting ducks.
“It allows an establishment to choose to refuse to allow conceal carry,” Collins explained “but not advertise to the world, including advertising to bad guys, that the people inside may be more susceptible to some type of crime.”
So, let’s get this straight. These businesses understand that guns in private hands make them safer, but they’re still going to opt out of allowing guns in their establishments?
Don’t look at me, folks. I’m as confused by this “logic” as anyone.
If someone doesn’t carry a firearm into an off-limits establishment, Collins claims they can’t legally be asked to leave. Instead, they will not be allowed to return in the future if they have a firearm on their person.
This is, of course, assuming the law works the way Collins intends. I seem to remember a Georgia lawmaker who wrote a bill in part so he wouldn’t have to disarm himself when picking someone up at the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta, only to be told after it passed that the law didn’t actually allow him to carry in the airport at all. (Note: He was not looking to carry beyond where TSA would screen.)
So here’s hoping Collins is right.
Of course, none of that really matters, because while the law goes into effect on Friday, it appears that there’s no training program in place to actually issue the enhanced permits in the first place. In fact, it appears the new law will merely be a technicality until sometime in early 2018, which I’m sure will make all the difference in the world to Arkansas voters. I’m quite sure they won’t mind waiting a few more months for something they were basically promised on September 1.
Still, at least the law provides for the enhanced permits and that means they’re coming for Arkansas resident. While I don’t think you should necessarily need a permit to exercise any of your constitutionally protected rights, at least a permit is better than not being able to exercise those rights at all.