“The citizens of this state shall have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defense.”


Arkansas is a shall-issue, permitless carry state with concealed weapons permits. There is no background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual. Permitless open carry is legal for any person who is at least 18 years old. Concealed carry is legal without a license for anyone that is over 18. Enhanced concealed carry permits (E-CHCL) allow for carrying in some forbidden areas. The Castle Doctrine in Arkansas is a fundamental right to be preserved and promoted as a public policy in the state. Arkansas does not have a “stand your ground” law, and there is a duty to retreat.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Arkansas will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Arkansas license:

“(a) Any person in possession of a valid license issued by another state to carry a concealed handgun issued to the person by another state is entitled to the privileges and subject to the restrictions prescribed by this subchapter if the state that issued the license to carry a concealed handgun recognizes a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under this subchapter.

(b) The Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police shall: (1) Make a determination as to which states’ licenses to carry concealed handguns will be recognized in Arkansas and provide that list to every law enforcement agency within the state; and (2) Revise the list from time to time and provide the revised list to every law enforcement agency in this state.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Arkansas and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Arkansas State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

If You are in possession of a handgun, when a LEO asks for identification You must also notify the LEO that You have a CCP and that You have a handgun in Your possession.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

Arkansas forbids the carrying of a handgun in Your vehicle unless You have a valid permit to carry, are on Your own property, are a licensed security guard acting in the course of Your duties, You are driving to or from a hunting area with the intent of hunting with a handgun, or You are a prosecuting attorney with valid authorization.

Constitutional Carry

As of 8/16/13, Arkansas permits anyone who is at least 21 years old and not prohibited from owning a firearm to carry a handgun without a permit, openly or concealed. However, Arkansans must obtain a concealed carry permit for purposes of reciprocal carry.

NFA Items

Arkansas permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal. MGs may not have ammunition .30 inches (7.63 mm) or larger unless the gun is registered to an ammunition corporation. CLEOs are required to sign an application for the transfer of any item regulated under the NFA within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it.

Self-Defense Laws

Arkansas has a Castle Doctrine law but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in Your home or curtilage, but there is a duty to retreat in all other places. You may use deadly force in self-defense if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death or SBI, a forcible felony, or an act as part of pattern of domestic abuse that is imminently endangering Your life or about to victimize You.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

You may carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless posted with “No Gun Signs.” This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You are prohibited from carrying while you consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

If a property or establishment has a “No Guns” sign or the person in lawful possession communicates to you that guns are not allowed, you are prohibited from carrying on the property or into the establishment. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

Open Carry

There has been a lot of confusion and debate over the legality of open carry in Arkansas. In 2018, the Arkansas Court of Appeals issued an opinion settling the debate and ending that confusion. In the case titled Jamie Taft v. State of Arkansas, No. CR-18-353, the Arkansas Court of Appeals stated “[m]erely possessing a weapon is not a crime in the State of Arkansas.” The Arkansas Court of Appeals reached this conclusion  by interpreting Ark. Code § 5-73-120(a). This interpretation is consistent with that of the Arkansas AG, who issued an Opinion on Ark. Code § 5-73-120(a) several years prior. However, this is still subject to the specified restrictions in the “Criminal Provisions” above.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.

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