Arkansas Gun/Knife laws


July 6, 2009, 10:40 PM
Can anyone tell me what Arkansas law says about carrying a pistol in your vehicle? I'm travelling there in a few weeks, and I wanted to know if the law was similar to Texas law (legal to carry in car w/o permit).

Also, is there any prohibition to carrying a folding knife on your person? In particular, the 3.5" CRKT folder (not assisted opening) this OK under AR law?

Many thanks in advance.... :D

If you enjoyed reading about "Arkansas Gun/Knife laws" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 7, 2009, 03:47 PM
You may carry a weapon (this includes switchblades, clubs, handguns) when on a journey without a license. You may also carry a loaded handgun when going to, from, or while hunting without a concealed handgun license. I live in Tennessee now but grew up in Arkansas and still spend quite a bit of time there. I do have a TN handgun carry permit, so that makes life easier and did have an Arkansas license at one time.

A journey is not defined under law but the courts (old late 1800's) have basically said a journey takes you away from your circle of family/friends. If I was from a certain area of Little Rock, I could not legally carry it during my daily business....BUT if i wanted to take a trip to say Hot Springs THEN i could legally carry the handgun to Hot Springs AND while in Hot Springs because I am away from my circle of family/friends..neighborhood. The law makes no distinction as to carrying in your car or on your person loaded or is all seen as 'carrying a weapon' under the law (unless say going hunting, range, fishing). When on a journey you can technically carry the handgun concealed or unconcealed, but I would strongly urge you to conceal your handgun for obvious reasons, especially not having a license. You are not required to inform law enforcement of carrying, and I honestly would not. Most suspect travelers of having a handgun at least in a vehicle in Arkansas on the major freeways out in the rural areas for protection. I informed one officer after a fender bender because I thought I would have to retrieve my weapon out of the console and he did not care that I did not have a license at the time. As long as you are clean cut, polite, you won't have problems with police on the open highway....I still wouldn't inform...nothing to gain.

If you want a loaded long gun in your can have them anytime you want...even when not on a journey..because those aren't weapons...kind of like Texas...Your knife should be legal length..I believe Arkansas did away with a max legal length a couple years ago...Have fun in Arkansas.

August 21, 2009, 02:56 PM
I've lived in Arkansas my whole life, and I have heard about this "On a Journey" thing quite a bit. But I've never seen anything that supports it from people who have any authority (I.E., those that could toss you in jail). I have a concealed carry permit, and when I got mine, the law stated that you must inform the officer if you HAVE THE PERMIT, whether you're carrying your weapon, or not. You must also tell them if you have the weapon, of course. Lately, I've seen websites talking about concealed carry laws that have said that Arkansas no longer requires you to inform them that you have a weapon, but the local law enforcement that I have spoken with still wish to be notified. The point is, whether it's the law or not, those on the working front may not be as up to par on their concealed carry laws as they should be, so it's best to inform them rather than deal with the problems that could arise should there be some sort of misunderstanding. It's far less likely to cause problems if you tell them, and have the licensing to back it up, than not on either count.

This is not to say that no law like this exists. But I've done quite a bit of looking into it, and have never found anything concrete as to whether or not it's true. Your best bet would be to contact the state police anytime you are heading into a state where you don't know the laws according to what you want to do.

August 21, 2009, 04:48 PM
09-FEB-2007 -- The Arkansas legislature has repealed Sec. 5-73-121 of the Arkansas Code pertaining to the offense of carrying a knife as a weapon. Prior to its repeal, Sec. 5-73-121 had imposed a three and a half inch blade length limit on knife carry, and knives carried with blades over the specified length were presumed to be weapons under the statute.

With the repeal of Sec. 5-71-121, implemented as Act 83 of 2007, Arkansas no longer has a statutory blade length limit for knife carry.

Good news for your other question

August 21, 2009, 04:51 PM

5-73-120.Carrying a weapon.

(a)A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.

(b)As used in this section:

(1)“Club” means any instrument that is specially designed, made, or adapted for the purpose of inflicting serious physical injury or death by striking, including a blackjack, billie, and sap;

(2)“Handgun” means any firearm with a barrel length of less than twelve inches (12″) that is designed, made, or adapted to be fired with one (1) hand; and

(3)(A)“Knife” means any bladed hand instrument that is capable of inflicting serious physical injury or death by cutting or stabbing.

(B)“Knife” includes a dirk, sword or spear in a cane, razor, ice pick, throwing star, switchblade, and butterfly knife.

(c)It is a defense to a prosecution under this section that at the time of the act of carrying a weapon:

(1)The person is in his or her own dwelling, place of business, or on property in which he or she has a possessory or proprietary interest;

(2)The person is a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of his or her official duties;

(3)The person is assisting a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of his or her official duties pursuant to the direction or request of the law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces;

(4)The person is carrying a weapon when upon a journey, unless the journey is through a commercial airport when presenting at the security checkpoint in the airport or is in the person's checked baggage and is not a lawfully declared weapon;

(5)The person is a licensed security guard acting in the course and scope of his or her duties;

(6)The person is hunting game with a handgun that may be hunted with a handgun under rules and regulations of the Arkansas State Game and Fish Commission or is en route to or from a hunting area for the purpose of hunting game with a handgun;

(7)The person is a certified law enforcement officer; or

(8)The person is in a motor vehicle and the person has a license to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to

§  5-73-301 et seq.(d)(1)Any person who carries a weapon into an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of not more than two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) or imprisonment for not more than one (1) year, or both.

(2)Otherwise, carrying a weapon is a Class A misdemeanor.

Arkansas law is sort of vague, probably intentionally so and gives the officer a lot of discretion. Most won't think anything of it, but they COULD give you a hard time about it.


Email the state police, they are very responsive here.

August 21, 2009, 09:31 PM
#4 is all you need to know.

August 21, 2009, 11:49 PM
Sorry, but that isn't true.

Some court cases/AG opinions point at this and say it only applies to Arkansas residents. Others say it doesn't matter and as long as you are outside of your normal routine.

This doesn't even scratch the surface on concealed carry. There are a whole other set of laws about this.

Do your own homework, the link I posted is a good place to start. The AG's website is another. Taking an opinion from anyone on the internet is like rolling the dice.

August 22, 2009, 12:40 AM
Most of the policemen and sheriffs deputies here in Arkansas are very nice, well intentioned people. I have worked with many of them in an official capacity. However, the starting salary for a typical cop or deputy in rural areas is about 19 grand a year. These guys are not going to be too well-schooled in the niceities of state firearms law. I think a lot of them have some other kind of job on the side. Not too much time to be reading the new laws emanating from Little Rock.

August 22, 2009, 02:55 AM
Yeah police in rural areas are not paid well. They have a tough thankless job with little backup. I have a lot of respect for them back in my homestate.

If you truly want to carry a weapon outside of a 'journey', especially if you live in Little Rock, it is best to get a license. Police have a wonderful way of reading people and will know if you are or are not on a journey....some may care some may not care. The state police are very well aware of this law...most others are taught this basic old law too.

Long guns are your best friend in AR b/c they are not weapons...and again can be loaded ANYTIME pretty much ANYWHERE.

August 22, 2009, 03:10 AM
agreed about the long guns. I have a loaded 12 gauge behind my seat right now. I am pretty sure a texas concealed handgun license would also work in arkansas I think? I could be wrong its been awhile since I last looked at those laws.

August 22, 2009, 02:41 PM
Yes the Texas CHL is good in Arkansas. I live in TN now and my TN handgun carry permit is good in Arkansas. I once had an Arkansas CHL.

If you enjoyed reading about "Arkansas Gun/Knife laws" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!