Open carry rising: states, courts, expand open carry rights

by Mike Stollenwerk | Examiner.com  |  published on October 1, 2013

A new day for open carry

The open carry movement scored some big wins this year, indicating that ‘open carry’ has not lost steam as a legal and social engine of American gun rights. This year three states have legalized or expanded open carry rights, and two federal courts have struck down gun carry bans on the grounds that banning open carry in public violates the Second Amendment.

State legislatures in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi passed open carry friendly legislation this year. The new open carry law in Alabama clarified state statutes that the open carry of handguns was permissible in public places without any permit, and cannot be considered “disorderly conduct.” For example, under newly enacted Alabama Code § 13A-11-7-c,

“It shall be a rebuttable presumption that the mere carrying of a visible pistol, holstered or secured, in a public place, in and of itself, is not a violation of this section.

Also this year in Arkansas, the legislature changed the elements of the offense known as “carrying a weapon” from mere possession “of a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person” to such possession “with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.” [emphasis added]. As a result, adults in Arkansas no longer need a permit to carry a handgun concealed or openly.

And in Mississippi, after the state legislature clarified that open carry was legal, the state Supreme Court upheld the open carry law over a lower court’s ruling that the law was too vague to be enforced. The National Rifle Association filed an amicus brief in this case which noted that open carry is common across the US, citing to OpenCarry.org.

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