Arkansas HB 1284: Another bill on CC at church


Spats McGee
February 8, 2013, 05:52 PM
We've got a second bill in the Arkansas General Assembly that would amend our CHCL law in regards to concealed carrying in church:

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Outlaw Man
February 8, 2013, 06:01 PM
I don't like this. If churches have to have a sign, it should be like businesses: Carry is ok unless posted. Heck, a lot of churches ARE businesses six days of the week.

ETA: The sponsor and co-sponsor are Democrats. This may not ever gain traction.

Spats McGee
February 8, 2013, 06:03 PM
I agree. No other piece of private property is required to post its policy on CC.

February 8, 2013, 06:12 PM
The Dems screwed up the AR CHL law when it was first law by making the license pretty much worthless and only good for maybe making bank deposits. Through their leaders, they would never let any real improvements come to a floor vote. There is still a huge list of places you cannot carry in Arkansas that no one can keep track of. It is a joke and shows what you get when Dems pass a law to say "I support gun rights" but it really does not improve gun rights.

February 10, 2013, 02:32 PM
There is still a huge list of places you cannot carry in Arkansas that no one can keep track of. I've never found it hard to keep track. The rules I go by: (1) no carry in any kind of governmental facility (include here schools, polling places); (2) no carry where posted; (3) no carry in bars or athletic events. That pretty much covers everything (except church, which after tomorrow --???-- should be permitted).

I just now got the chance to look at HB1284. I'm thinking that this will go nowhere. But I have a query into a lobbying associate for further insight on its prospects. I'll report what I hear, when I hear something.

Added later: My contact doesn't think this will go anywhere. But it bears watching, just in case.

February 15, 2013, 10:47 PM
Beebe is apparently putting himself behind this bill. I think it has an uphill battle, but we need to bottle it up in committee, if possible. It helped that NRA-ILA sent out an alert today. This means that legislators who care about their NRA rating will have to think twice before supporting this bill. Meanwhile, I sent the following email to the sponsor and cosponsor, copied to all members of the House Judiciary Committee:

It pains me that two members of my own community of faith (Church of Christ) would seek to undo what we accomplished this session with SB71: to leave the matter of "Church Carry" up to individual churches and assemblies to decide what their policy will be with regard to concealed carry on church grounds or during assemblies. Given that Churches of Christ are congregational and autonomous, surely you must sense the irony in sponsoring a bill that interferes with local church autonomy. While you may posture it as having something to do with "liability," the need for such is groundless and can only serve to be a pretext for some other purpose.

Arkansas has a very strict regime for licensing individuals for concealed carry in which they are thoroughly schooled in the responsibilities and liability in exercising deadly force. Your bill would do nothing to improve on that. It is patently discriminatory in that it applies only to churches, and not to any other private property where the property owners have the discretion to decide whether or not permit concealed carry on their premises. How are churches any different with respect to "liability" than, say, Wal-Mart or the American Red Cross? Where such businesses or institutions allow concealed carry, why are you not seeking to include them in your bill? Why are you not requiring them to post such signs and assume liability?

The fallacy behind your bill is that the liability (or responsibility) rests with the individual who carries, not the location or property owner where a weapon might happen to be discharged. If I were to utilize a firearm on church grounds, the church would be no more liable or responsible for my actions than were I utilize it in a Wal-Mart or Krogers.

I trust that others on the Judiciary Committee will see through the fallacious premises of this bill, and will refuse to join with you in supporting it.

February 15, 2013, 10:52 PM
Liberals have wanted Churches to be tax filled like businesses for years. A church is a non-profit, but Liberals want them taxed. Please keep in mind, this is one way to help their cause.

February 16, 2013, 10:26 AM
I got a considerate, if unpersuasive, reply from the sponsor of the bill. Since email is private, I'll not quote directly. But essentially, he makes two arguments: (1) SB71 changes the law, and "signage" is required to properly inform people of the change, and (2) churches need charitable immunity now that they permit people to carry guns.

I responded (in effect): (1) if this were a valid argument, signage would have been required of ALL locations allowing concealed carry when the CHL law was first passed, and (2) charitable immunity applies to individuals acting as agents of charitable institutions, not to the institutions themselves, and since CHL holders are not acting as agents of the church immunity is not needed (and would not eliminate CHL holders from personal liability and prosecution anyway). I also mentioned the perverse effect of requiring signs as a form of negative "gun free zone" and how this negates the deterrence effect of concealed carry.

This exchange was copied to all other members of the Judiciary Committee. I hope they take the time to read it.

February 19, 2013, 05:19 PM
This bill was on the House Judiciary Committee agenda for this morning. I'm not seeing any sign of activity on it today. I hope that's a "good" sign, and means that the sponsor doesn't have the support to get it past the committee. I had another round of email with the sponsor over the weekend. It was cordial, and informative, though in the sense of helping me to hone the basis for my opposition. I'm hoping it goes nowhere, but will be prepared to go make a public appearance before the committee if it comes to that.

Outlaw Man
February 19, 2013, 06:35 PM
Looks like they revised the agenda to the 21st.

If it comes down to needing to go to the legislature in person, let me know how I can help.

February 19, 2013, 08:44 PM
Looks like they revised the agenda to the 21st.I suspect that the sponsor keeps putting it off because there are not enough votes to get it passed. Or maybe that's wishful thinking!

If it comes down to needing to go to the legislature in person, let me know how I can help. Will do. I have a contact who I'm sure will let me know if it comes to that. I went to committee meetings in both the prior two sessions (2009) and (2011) when predecessors to this sessions successful SB71 were under consideration. We were usually able to get a respectable group together prepared to speak to the committee (which we did in 2011), so if we need to for this bill, I'll keep you posted. Thanks.

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