Arkansas Gun Laws
- A. State Constitution
- B. Scope of Preemption
- C. Reciprocal Carry
- D. Duty to Inform Officers
- E. NFA Items
- F. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles
- G. Self-defense Laws
- H. Constitutional Carry
- I. Criminal Provisions
A unique aspect of Arkansas concealed carry law is that the Arkansas State Police maintain a fairly comprehensive list of places carry is accepted with a CCP. In most states, assembling this information, if it can be readily obtained, is a tedious job. Arkansas is a constitutional carry state, meaning that anyone legally allowed to possess a handgun may carry it open or concealed without a license.
Arkansas population is just under 3,000,000. Arkansas shares its southern border with Louisiana, and its northern border with Missouri. To the east it borders with Tennessee and Mississippi. Its western borders are with Texas and Oklahoma.
A. State Constitution
Regarding the right to bear arms, the Arkansas Constitution states:
“The citizens of this state shall have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defense.”
B. Scope of Preemption
The controlling language of Arkansas preemption statutes is set forth as follows:
“(a) As used in this section, ‘local unit of government’ means a city, town, or county.
(b)(1)(A) A local unit of government shall not enact any ordinance or regulation pertaining to, or regulate in any manner, the ownership, transfer, transportation, carrying, or possession of firearms, ammunition for firearms, or components for firearms, except as otherwise provided in state or federal law. (B) This shall not prevent the enactment of an ordinance regulating or forbidding the unsafe discharge of a firearm.”
C. Reciprocal Carry
By statute, Arkansas will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Arkansas license:
“(a) Any person in possession of a valid license issued by another state to carry a concealed handgun issued to the person by another state is entitled to the privileges and subject to the restrictions prescribed by this subchapter if the state that issued the license to carry a concealed handgun recognizes a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under this subchapter.
(b) The Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police shall: (1) Make a determination as to which states’ licenses to carry concealed handguns will be recognized in Arkansas and provide that list to every law enforcement agency within the state; and (2) Revise the list from time to time and provide the revised list to every law enforcement agency in this state.”
Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Arkansas and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Arkansas State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time. Arkansas’s most current reciprocity information may be referenced by this hyperlink
D. Duty to Inform Officers
Arkansas does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry unless an Officer asks for Your identification.
E. NFA Items
Arkansas permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal.
F. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles
Arkansas forbids the carrying of a handgun in Your vehicle unless You have a valid permit to carry, are on Your own property, are a licensed security guard acting in the course of Your duties, You are driving to or from a hunting area with the intent of hunting with a handgun, or You are a prosecuting attorney with valid authorization. [http://gunla.ws/ar3]
G. Self-defense Laws
Arkansas has a Castle Doctrine law but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in Your home or curtilage, but there is a duty to retreat in all other places. You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or SBI, a forcible felony, or an act as part of pattern of domestic abuse that is imminently endangering Your life or about to victimize You.
H. Constitutional Carry
As of 8/16/13, Arkansas permits anyone who is at least 21 years old and not prohibited from owning a firearm to carry a handgun without a permit, openly or concealed. However, Arkansans must obtain a concealed carry permit for purposes of reciprocal carry. [http://gunla.ws/ar5]
I. Criminal Provisions
Under Arkansas law, a license to carry a handgun does not permit the licensee to carry in any of the following places or circumstances, no matter if it was issued by Arkansas or a state with a current reciprocity agreement with Arkansas:
- Any police station, sheriff’s station, or Department of Arkansas State Police Station
- Any Arkansas Highway Police Division of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department facility
- Any building of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation or onto grounds adjacent to any building of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. However, this does not extend to rest areas or weight stations of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department.
- Any detention facility, prison, or jail
- Any courthouse or courtroom
- Any polling place
- Any meeting place of the governing body of any governmental entity
- A meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly
- Any state office
- Any athletic event (not related to firearms)
- Any portion of an establishment, except restaurants, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
- Any school, college, or university campus building or event, unless for the purpose of participating in an authorized firearms-related activity
- Inside the passenger terminal of any airport, except that no person is prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the passenger terminal if the firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking the firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft
- Any church or other place of worship
- Any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, and the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration
- There is no duty to retreat when attacked in Your home or residence, and You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably fear You are in danger of death of serious bodily injury.
- Any licensee entering a private home must notify the occupant that the licensee is carrying a concealed handgun
In addition, as with all other states, there may be other sources of law impacting reciprocal carry that should be considered as a part of the research, and where CCPs are commonly not accepted for carry, including, but not limited to the following:
- Military bases
- Native American reservations
- Correctional facilities/courts
- Federal buildings
- Local government limitations
- National parks and wildlife refuges
- State hunting rules and regulations
For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see: