Under a law enacted in 2017 (and effective September 1, 2017),1 CCW license holders may complete a one-time training course approved by the Director of the Arkansas State Police to obtain a “concealed carry endorsement” authorizing such individuals to carry loaded firearms in a variety of otherwise restricted public buildings and facilities, including public college or university campus buildings and the State Capitol.2 This law also compels various private establishments (including houses of worship, bars, liquor stores, and other establishments that serve alcohol), to allow CCW holders with a concealed carry endorsement to carry concealed handguns in their premises, unless the establishment provides written or verbal notice, as prescribed, that concealed carry is prohibited.3
However, all CCW holders are still generally prohibited from carrying loaded firearms on the grounds of public K-12 or pre-kindergarten schools, courtrooms, locations where an administrative hearing is being conducted by a state agency, or facilities operated by the Department of Correction, or the Department of Community Correction, or residential treatment facilities owned or operated by the division of Youth Services of the Department of Human Services,4 unless they are carrying the handgun while in their motor vehicle or unless the handgun is kept in a locked motor vehicle in a publicly owned and maintained parking lot.5 The Arkansas State Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences may submit security plans to the State Police to obtain permission to designate certain sensitive areas off-limit to firearms, and colleges and universities may do the same while hosting or sponsoring collegiate athletic events, as specified.6
CCW holders without a concealed carry enhancement, and people without a CCW license, are generally not authorized to carry concealed handguns into:
- Any police, sheriff’s, state police or highway police station or facility;
- Any buildings of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department, or onto grounds adjacent to such buildings (except rest areas, weigh stations and public parking areas);
- Any meeting place of “the governing body of any governmental entity” or any meeting of the legislature or a committee thereof;
- Any state office;
- Any athletic event not related to firearms;
- Any portion of an establishment, except a restaurant, licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises or where beer or light wine is consumed on the premises;7
- The passenger terminal of any airport (except that no person shall be prohibited from carrying any legal firearm into the terminal if the firearm is encased for shipment for purposes of checking such firearm as baggage to be lawfully transported on any aircraft);
- Any church or other place of worship unless the head of the place of worship has given permission;
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;
- Any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, if the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration; or
- Any place at the discretion of the person or entity exercising control over the physical location, by displaying a written notice “clearly readable” at a distance of not less than ten feet, and posted at each entrance to the location, stating that “carrying a handgun is prohibited.” A written notice is not required for private homes, and any licensee entering a private home must notify the occupants that he or she is carrying a concealed handgun.8
Arkansas prohibits a person who is not licensed to carry a concealed weapon from possession of any loaded center-fire weapon, other than a shotgun, and other than in a residence or business of the owner, in certain parts of: Baxter County, Benton County, Carroll County, Conway County, Garland County, Marion County, and platted subdivisions located in unincorporated areas.9
A person who has been issued a permit to manufacture or sell alcoholic beverages will be assessed a fine for possession of a weapon on the permitted premises by a person without a possessory or proprietary interest in those premises. An employee of a retail liquor store for consumption off the premises who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon may possess a handgun on the premises.10
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- 2017 AR HB 1249, Section 8. See also, 2017 AR SB 724.
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-122(a)(3)(D), 5-73-322.
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-306(11), (12), (15), (18), (19).
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-122(a)(3)(D).
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-122(a)(3)(C). This does not apply to parking lots owned by the Department of Correction, the Department of Community Correction, and the parking lots of residential treatment facilities owned or operated by the Division of Youth Services of the Department of Human Services.
- Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-101(11), 5-73-122(3)(D)(iv), 5-73-306(20), 5-73-325.
- See Ark. Code Ann. § 3-9-402.
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-306.
- Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-127.
- Ark. Code Ann. § 3-4-403.