What Are Little Rock, Arkansas' Gun Laws Like?
Following the shooting at a nightclub in Little Rock, Arkansas, in the early hours of Saturday, some are questioning what Arkansas' gun laws are like. The shooting, which wounded 28 people, happened during a crowded concert at Power Ultra Lounge, a popular club in downtown Little Rock.
So far there have been no suspects arrested in the shooting. Reports have also not confirmed the type of firearm that was used, but one witness reported that she saw someone with a handgun on stage. Given the gun laws that Arkansas has on the books, it is unclear whether the shooter or shooters in Little Rock had their guns in the club legally.
According to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, you do not need a permit to purchase any type of rifle, handgun, or shotgun in Arkansas. You do need a permit to carry a concealed handgun, and though who the state gives a permit to is limited. Convicted felons, those who have been judged to be mentally ill, and those who have been sent to a mental institution involuntarily cannot be granted a handgun permit in Arkansas. Even those who do have permits are limited in where they can take their handguns, although the state recently voted to make it legal to bring concealed handguns onto college campuses and government property.
As of April of this year, about 220,000 people in Arkansas had concealed handgun permits. In addition to various restrictions about where people may and may not take permitted concealed handguns, there is also one additional restriction: "It is unlawful for a person to possess a handgun on or about his person, in a vehicle occupied by him, or otherwise readily available for use, with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ it as a weapon against a person."
According to CriminalDefenseLawyer.com, it is illegal to take a concealed handgun into an "establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, other than certain restaurants."
ABC News reports that the Alcoholic Beverage Control division of Arkansas' Department of Finance Administration has suspended the liquor license at Power Ultra Lounge in the wake of the shooting. One of the violations they cited for revoking the license was for "allowing possession of weapons on the premises," so it seems likely that concealed weapons were not supposed to be allowed inside the club. However, given the very few restrictions placed on who can buy handguns in Arkansas, it is not unlikely that the shooter or shooters owned their guns legally.