Arkansas’ hate and gun laws have significant gaps that allow people to keep and access firearms, including assault weapons, after they have been convicted of violent hate crimes.
Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in Arkansas
|Violence with Severe Bodily Injury||Violence with Bodily Injury||Other Crimes Involving Intentional Use of Force||Threats with Deadly Weapons|
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
|Federal Law||Very limited or no access||Significant access||Significant access||Some access|
|State Law||Very limited or no access||Significant access||Significant access||Some access|
Arkansas is one of the only states in the nation that still has no hate crime statute.
Like federal law, Arkansas generally prohibits people from accessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony.1 (Federal law generally prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years).2 But Arkansas does not prohibit people convicted of other violent crimes from accessing firearms, and does not make any violent misdemeanors punishable by a term long enough to trigger federal law’s firearm restrictions either.3
Arkansas generally classifies violent offenses as felonies if they involve severe bodily injury, conduct or threats with deadly weapons that create a substantial danger of death or serious injury, or credible death threats made for the purpose of “terrorizing another person.”4 People convicted of these felony offenses are generally ineligible to access firearms under both Arkansas and federal law.
However, people convicted of violent hate-motivated misdemeanors generally remain eligible to access guns under both Arkansas and federal law, including crimes involving intentional infliction of bodily injury, intentional choking, stalking that places a victim in reasonable fear for their safety, and other credible threats of violence.5
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- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-103(a).
- 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-4-401. The maximum sentence for a class A misdemeanor—the most serious type of misdemeanor—is one year of imprisonment.
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-13-201 and 202 (felony First and second degree battery); 5-13-204 (felony Aggravated assault); 5-13-301(a); 5-71-229 (felony Stalking involving deadly weapon or terroristic threats with purpose of placing victim in imminent fear of death or serious bodily injury).
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-13-203 (misdemeanor Third degree battery); 5-13-205(a)(2) (First degree assault); 5-13-207 (Third degree assault); 5-13-301(b) (Terroristic threatening); 5-71-229 (third degree stalking).