Millions of Americans use their firearms to defend themselves every year. Be it from wild animals or wild animals of the two-legged variety, people use their guns to save lives, often their own. As such, it makes sense that people should be able to carry those firearms in more places. After all, it’s easier to use a gun to defend yourself if you have your firearm with you.
While anti-gunners are doing everything in their power to kill concealed carry, the governor of Arkansas wants to make it a bit easier.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson this week announced support for a bill that would reduce concealed carry fees by half.
Introduced by state Sen. Trent Garner (R-El Dorado), Senate Bill 15 would cut the initial concealed carry fee from $100 to $50 and the renewal fee from $50 to $25.
SB 15 also has the support of state Reps. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) and Jim Dotson (R-Bentonville), along with at least a dozen or so other Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate.
“I appreciate the commitment shown by Senator Garner and Representatives Ballinger and Dotson on this issue. Their partnership with my office and the State Police has led to what I believe is good legislation that strikes the right balance in reducing these fees,” said Gov. Hutchinson in a statement obtained by GunsAmerica.
“I fully support their efforts, and if the legislature passes this bill in the upcoming session, I will sign it into law,” he continued.
If the measure passes, the police stand to lose $1.2 million in revenue, as the Arkansas State Police receive that money.
Of course, Arkansas is also a constitutional carry state, so it’s not like permits are required.
However, people leave their home state all the time. Permits are useful for reciprocity purposes if nothing else, which is why many constitutional carry states still issue them.
By reducing the cost for those permits, Arkansas will make access much easier for economically disadvantaged individuals. Folks who are barely getting buy are going to have a problem coming up with $100, so they can carry their gun out of state, something that may be necessary for any number of reasons. On the other hand, $50 is a bit easier to manage, and most can scrape up $25 for a renewal fee.
While no one should have to have a permit to carry a firearm, that’s not the world we live in. Many states still require them, and while they’re willing to accept permits from other states, they want to see permits. They shouldn’t be a moneymaking venture for the states, either. While reasonable fees to cover the costs make sense, I find it hard to believe it’s that expensive to handle a background check and a bit of paperwork.
This move by the state of Arkansas needs to happen. Especially considering they’re already sensible enough to recognize that permits don’t stop criminals from carrying anyway. Cut the fees, make it easier for people to get the permits they need, and call it a day.