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Arkansans walk in support of open carry | Politics

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Arkansans walk in support of open carry

CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) - On Saturday, the Patriots of Act 746 walked in Conway in support of carrying handguns. The debate on whether or not it's legal still hasn't been settled, but supporters have interpreted the act as a victory.

"In the second amendment, it says that we have a God given right to be able to carry weapons," said state representative David Meeks (R-70).

Supporters of the Act walked with handguns in open holsters.

"It is our contention that it authorizes constitutional carry for the state of Arkansas," said Sherwood resident Don Hendricks.

The act, approved last year, lists instances in which you are allowed to carry a handgun. That includes in your home, if you're a police officer, if you're hunting, or if you're on a journey beyond the county in which you live.

"I believe that people should have the option to conceal carry or to open carry," said Meeks.

But, the words open and concealed are missing from the act. In a statement back in July, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said Act 746 does not permit open carry, but Meeks had a different interpretation.

"You cannot be prosecuted from simply carrying a weapon," he said. "In order to be prosecuted, you actually have to have the intent to use it in a harmful manner or to use it illegally."

For Conway resident Brittaney Stockton, seeing guns openly displayed on the belts of Arkansans is a scary prospect.

"It worries me because I have my daughter with me, and we do not have weapons in her home, and I'm just not comfortable with her being around weapons," she said. Concealed or not, they are still too dangerous for her liking.

"They can have their opinions, I differ with that opinion," Hendricks said. "I think guns are completely safe as long as people treat them safely."

Meeks said the focus shouldn't be on guns, but on the people carrying them.

"We need children and adults both alike to learn to use them properly," Meeks said.

Judicial Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said attorneys around the state will only prosecute if a weapon is used "unlawfully."

"If you intend to use it unlawfully or illegally, that's where the police should be able to step in," Meeks said.