See our Firearm Prohibitions policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.
Arkansas has incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. Arkansas prohibits any person from owning or possessing any firearm if he or she has been:
- Convicted of a felony (including cases where the sentence is suspended or the defendant is placed on probation) unless the case was dismissed or expunged or the person was subsequently granted a pardon explicitly restoring the ability to possess a firearm;
- Adjudicated mentally ill; or
- Committed involuntarily to any mental institution.1
A person who has entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere prior to an adjudication of guilt for a felony is nevertheless considered as having a felony conviction for purposes of any law prohibiting possession of a firearm by certain persons.2
Arkansas law also grants the governor the authority to restore the right of a convicted felon or an adjudicated delinquent to possess a firearm under state law, without granting a pardon, upon recommendation of the chief law enforcement officer in the jurisdiction where the person resides, so long as the underlying felony or delinquency adjudication did not involve the use of a weapon and occurred more than eight years previous. (Note that federal law may still prohibit the person from possessing firearms.)
For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the Arkansas Background Checks section.
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-103(a), (b).
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 16-93-303(c)(1).