Article II, § 5 of the Arkansas Constitution states: “The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms, for their common defense.”
Several Supreme Court of Arkansas decisions have rejected Art. II, § 5 challenges to firearms regulations.1
Most recently, in Jones v. City of Little Rock, the Supreme Court of Arkansas held that Arkansas Code Annotated § 5-73-120, regulating the possession of a handgun in a vehicle, did not violate the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.2 While appellant did not raise an Art. II, § 5 challenge to the statute, the court nevertheless emphasized that “[l]ong ago we made it clear that [Arkansas] may, as a matter of its police power, place appropriate restrictions on one’s right to bear arms.”3
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- See e.g., Dabbs v. State, 39 Ark. 353, 357 (Ark. 1882) (prohibiting the sale of “pocket” pistols “does not abridge the constitutional right of citizens to keep and bear arms for the common defense”); Fife v. State, 31 Ark. 455 (Ark. 1876) (law prohibiting the carrying of concealed pistols was a valid exercise of the state’s police power); and Carroll v. State, 28 Ark. 99, 101 (Ark. 1872) (state constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” for defensive purposes does not prohibit the legislature from making police regulations that are necessary for the good of society, such as reasonable regulations prohibiting the concealed carrying of deadly weapons). See also Haile v. State, 38 Ark. 564, 565 (Ark. 1882) (rejecting constitutional challenge to statute prohibiting the public carrying of military pistols “except uncovered, and in the hand”); contra, Wilson v. State, 33 Ark. 557, 560 (Ark. 1878) (prohibiting the wearing or carrying of “war arms” except on the person’s premises, when on a journey, or when acting as or in aid of an officer, “is an unwarranted restriction upon his constitutional right to keep and bear arms”).
- 862 S.W.2d 273 (Ark. 1993).
- Jones, 862 S.W.2d at 275 (citing the Haile, Wilson, Fife and Carroll opinions).