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Old March 22, 2013, 01:41 PM   #1
Spats McGee
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Arkansas: Movin' on up! (I hope)

Looking at another thread, I was reminded that Arkansas recognizes the CCLs of 39 other states, and is recognized in 39 other states.

Then I got this from the NRA-ILA:
Quote:
Yesterday, House Bill 1819, an important protection to the Emergency Powers statute, passed in the Senate Committee on State Agencies and Governmental Affairs with a “Do Pass” recommendation. HB 1819, introduced by state Representative Charlotte Vining Douglas (R-75), would prohibit any Arkansas Governor from imposing restrictions on the transfer or transportation of lawfully possessed firearms during a declared State of Emergency. HB 1819 could now be considered on the Senate floor at any time.

In addition, Senate Bill 858, which would establish that Arkansas recognize any valid Right-to-Carry permit issued by another state, passed in the Senate Judiciary Committee with a “Do Pass” recommendation. Introduced by state Senator Jason Rapert (R-35), this important reform would replace the current conditional reciprocity standard. SB 858 is expected to be considered on the Senate floor on Monday.
In this legislative session, our legislators tried to pass:
  • a "permitted open carry bill" (which unfortunately failed);
  • a bill allowing certain faculty and staff to carry concealed firearms at a university or college under certain circumstances (passed, but allows the institution to opt out);
  • to allow churches to decide for themselves whether concealed carry will be allowed in a church (passed);
  • to allow the service pistol or shotgun of a member of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation department (a law enforcement branch attached to our highway department) to be awarded to the officer or his widow upon his death or retirement provided that the recipient is eligible to receive and possess same(passed);
  • to extend the CHCL exemption to current and former law enforcement officers, and military personnel (2 bills, 1 passed, 1 pending);
  • to create the offense of "unlawful procurement of firearms or ammunition, a Class D felony," by which it would be unlawful to solicit or entice either an FFL or a private seller to transfer a firearm, or to provide false information to either with a purpose to deceive them concerning the lawfulness of the transfer (pending);
  • to clarify that it is a defense to certain offenses related to the carrying of a weaon that the person (defendant) is a prosecuting attorney (pending);
  • a Second Amendment Liberties Safeguard Act (pending);
  • to allow employees of detention facilities to carry firearms (pending (?!?));
  • to allow liquor store employees to possess firearms (pending);
  • to clarify that having a firearm in a vehicle is not a crime in and of itself (pending);
  • creating a civil action for search and seizure of firearms under which a mental health professional shall report a diagnosis of mental illness to the local prosecuting attorney if the patient is an immediate danger to himself or to other persons, and should not possess firearms while he or she has the mental illness (hmmm. . . pending);
  • the Arkansas Firearms Freedom Act (for firearms created here, that remain here).
By no means is this the perfect constellation of gun laws that I'd like to see. However:
  • Number of bills or laws attempting to impose magazine restrictions = 0
  • Number of bills or laws attempting to impose universal background checks = 0
  • Number of bills or laws further restricting concealed carry = 0
Not too bad, if'n ya ask me.
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Old March 22, 2013, 01:54 PM   #2
Vanya
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Quote:
creating a civil action for search and seizure of firearms under which a mental health professional shall report a diagnosis of mental illness to the local prosecuting attorney if the patient is an immediate danger to himself or to other persons, and should not possess firearms while he or she has the mental illness (hmmm. . . pending)
Hmmm, indeed.

Might be OK, as long there's a court involved in the "civil action." But I get really hinky about the idea of allowing confiscation based on a diagnosis alone, in the absence of some threatening behavior. A verbal threat of harm to self or another would qualify, but it needs to be clear-cut, IMO.

Other than that... Go, Arkansas!
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Last edited by Vanya; March 22, 2013 at 02:29 PM.
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Old March 22, 2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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I had the very same reservations, so I pulled the actual bill. If it passes (& it hasn't yet), the procedure looks something like this:
  • Doctor makes diagnosis of mental illness;
  • Doctor must report same to county prosecuting attorney, if person is an immediate danger to self or others and should not possess firearms;
  • Prosecuting attorney files petition with circuit court requesting a search and seizure for and of firearms;
  • Court appoints public defender to represent patient;
  • Court holds hearing involving both prosecution and defense on the petition;
  • Makes determination on petition and what should happen with firearms and ammunition, if seized;
  • After one year, person diagnosed may petition for return of firearms, if they were not destroyed.

There are a few other wrinkles, but that's the basic framework.
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Old March 22, 2013, 02:28 PM   #4
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That might actually work. Many states have approximately the same reporting requirement, and that spells out a reasonable process to follow after a report has been made; it's also, perhaps, a process that's serious enough to discourage too much CYA reporting.

It might be nice to have a clear storage protocol spelled out, however. I'm not too wild about "... if they were not destroyed."
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Old March 22, 2013, 02:36 PM   #5
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Well, that was one of the wrinkles that I didn't get off into:

Quote:
(f)(l) A person who has been adjudicated mentally ill under subsection (e) of this section may file a petition in circuit court one (1) year after the adjudication for the return of a firearm or ammunition confiscated under this section.
(2) A circuit court shall return the firearm or ammunition if the circuit court finds that the person is not mentally ill to the extent that the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm under § 5-73-103.

(3) A subsequent petition for the return of the person's firearm or ammunition may be filed one (1) year after the date of the final order from the denial of a previous petition.
(g) A firearm or ammunition seized under this section shall be held by the local law enforcement agency that seized the firearm or ammunition until a circuit court orders:
(1) The release of the firearm or ammunition to the person from whom it was seized or to the owner of the firearm or ammunition; or

(2) The destruction of the firearm or ammunition.
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Old March 23, 2013, 08:45 AM   #6
Rifleman1776
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I'm involved in politics and know many of our Arkansas legislators.
But, I have problems with this bill.
It would turn doctors, or psych coselors into police. It would require violation of doctor/patient confidentiality and privacy.
The definition of mental illness is pretty loose. The doctor may have one idea of what immediate threat or danger is and another a different slant.
It brings personal feelings into the equation. e.g. the doctor may be very anti-gun and thinks the patient is an immediate threat simply because he owns guns.
Really, the term "mental illness" has never been properly defined. In fact psych students are taught from day one there is no definition of "normal". All of us have some degree of variation from laymen's ideas of "normal". Meaning we are all nuts to some degree.
I don't like the bill or the concept.
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Old March 23, 2013, 08:59 AM   #7
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Doctors, in many respects, are already police. They are among the mandatory reporters with respect to child abuse, for example.

As far as defining the term "mental illness" for legal purposes, well, it's a pretty damn hard term to define for that. It's what I call "kind of a squishy area." The issue of having the doctor's perspective come into play has always been there and, IMO, is impossible to remove.

I'm not saying that I love this bill, and I'd agree that it has some problems. But the problems you describe are in some ways, the same problem with any legislation involving doctors, and no more prevalent in this bill than in any such legislation.
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Old March 23, 2013, 10:04 AM   #8
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The reporting requirement isn't triggered by a diagnosis of mental illness, which is indeed a squishy thing.

From the Code of Ethics of the American Psychological Association:
4.05 Disclosures
...
(b) Psychologists disclose confidential information without the consent of the individual only as mandated by law, or where permitted by law for a valid purpose such as to (1) provide needed professional services; (2) obtain appropriate professional consultations; (3) protect the client/patient, psychologist, or others from harm;...
I've underlined the relevant portion of this; the part about protecting the client or others from harm is well established, and at the same time, psychologists take confidentiality very seriously. Breaking that trust isn't going to be undertaken lightly.

Note that the standard in the proposed AR law is that the person poses an immediate danger, and that reporting such a concern triggers a major legal process. A psychologist who repeatedly triggered that process without real cause would be noticed and very possibly sanctioned.

This proposed law is one of the few I've seen lately that I might be willing to accept: there's a reasonable balance between protecting the public and protecting patients' rights, and I don't say that lightly -- I'm a strong proponent of the latter.
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Last edited by Vanya; March 23, 2013 at 10:10 AM. Reason: clarity.
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Old March 24, 2013, 02:02 PM   #9
Will Beararms
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I grew up in Arkansas. Hunting, fishing and shooting is a priority for the state. For example, There is a constitutional amendment (35 I believe) that prevents the state politicians from getting their hands on the funds generated by the Game and Fish commission.

The recent installation of more pro-constitution House members not withstanding, I am not surprised by the developments you are reporting to us. I still duck hunt in Arkansas and may retire there. I am glad to hear about this.

I am not against a well thought out, well designed, well implemented plan to deter those with serious mental health issues from gaining access to firearms.

I am fine with churches deciding whether to allow or not to allow concealed carry.

I think punishing those not qualified to buy firearms who deceive honest people over a purchase is a good thing.

Sounds like common sense is ruling the day in Arkansas with respect to firearms ownership.
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Old March 24, 2013, 02:23 PM   #10
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The trouble with the proposed reporting/confiscation requirement, vis-à-vis the mentally ill, is that if such legislation doesn't also require, and fund, better access to treatment, it's not addressing the real problem. This law will affect those who have sought treatment, but it does nothing to make it easier for others to get help. (Or if it does, Spats hasn't delved that deeply... )

Taking away the guns of people who are already in treatment may prevent some violence, but it won't prevent it all, nor get at its causes.
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Old March 24, 2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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I don't recall seeing anything in that particular bill as regards funding treatment, but I didn't do any broad research on what the General Assembly is doing on the mental health front. I just ran a search for "firearm" in the bills. If there is something else out there for funding better mental health treatment, it just didn't contain the word "firearm."
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Old March 24, 2013, 03:56 PM   #12
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Mental health care either on the public or private side of the coin is not a priority. After dealing with the system as the care taker of a loved one who had issues, I can tell you this. There are behaviors to avoid that may reduce our chance to ever need such treatment. In the interest of staying on topic, I will not delve into this.

I am leery of any sort of confiscation without strict controls. Like most things, it's a balancing act.

It is good that Arkansas is getting out in front of these issues to avoid the chance of some person not friendly to the second amendment later taking over the Governor's office and trying to rush in feel-good legislation.

As a general rule in AR, if you mess with gun ownership, hunting, fishing or the sound management of streams dedicated to outdoor recreation, your political career will end abruptly.
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Old April 11, 2013, 05:27 PM   #13
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Act 1089

Our Governor signed this date Act 1089 of 2013 of the 89th General Assembly, under which Arkansas will recognize ALL licenses to carry concealed firearms.

http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assemb...ts/Act1089.pdf


WOO PIG SOOIE!
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Old April 11, 2013, 06:42 PM   #14
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The devil's in the details. In the New York thread, there exists a post where the definition of "mental health professionals" includes registered nurses. Well...there's a lot of RN's in this world. Very few of them would I consider or qualify as a mental health professional.
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Old April 25, 2013, 11:59 AM   #15
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Apparently, I was so busy watching the federal government, that my own state legislature snuck one past me.

We now have Act 746, which expressly authorizes the carry of a handgun when upon a journey outside of one's own county. It does not specify whether such carry must be open or concealed, and ArkansasCarry is reporting that we just got Constitutional Carry!

Act 746 also makes a technical, but rather important change to our "Carrying A Weapon" statute. The statute formerly criminalized the carrying of certain weapons "with a purpose to use [the weapon] against a person." The Arkansas General Assembly has now added language so that it reads "with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully use" the weapon against a person. The stickler for me was always that DGUs can still be "using a weapon against a person." However, the General Assembly has now removed that particular problem.

As with any new laws, there will have to be a couple of court cases to shake out exactly what this all means, so I will be proceeding with caution. I am not in a position to be an OC test case.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Act746.pdf (161.0 KB, 0 views)
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Old April 25, 2013, 01:24 PM   #16
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Been lurking here awhile, and have a few thoughts/questions.

I worked for a while in a mental hospital in Maryland. First thought, whenever a patient was released, it was always done after a doctor decided the patient was not a danger to themselves or others. So would a doctor then be saying, in these new laws, etc., that yes, they pose not threat, but shouldn't own a gun?
Also, they never ask patients about whether they own guns, (or will this be a standard question? and will patients learn to always answer no? and will it matter what the answer is?) so would the doctor then tell local police that they are not a threat to anyone's safety, which is why I am releasing them, and I don't know if they own guns or ever have, but don't think they should have them, and then the police go search the patients home for weapons and confiscate them if they find any?

Secondly, the issue of definition of mental illness, as stated before, is a blurry mess. And what happens to the loving person whose spouse/child/etc suddenly dies in an accident, has a nervous breakdown, however minor, and spends a few days being evaluated in the local hospitals psyc ward, maybe even given some medication, and then released? Are they forever labled a mental health patient? We saw this all the time at the hospital, people come in feeling and stating they are suicidal, or want to kill someone in revenge, etc while angry/depressed/etc then settle down, come to grips with what has happened, and are released.

I mention this last after reading some articles about SAFE act in NY, where if, supposedly, you have taken certain drugs listed on some mysterious list, as a mental health drug, you can have your guns taken away. The drugs, and variants of common drugs are constantly changing, and many are very mild. The thought of perfectly normal people whom have had some history of needed those drugs, even on only one occasion, could stay with them forever once they are labled as mental patients.

Anyway, done rambling....
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Old April 25, 2013, 02:35 PM   #17
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Shame that Arky doesn't provide non-resident carry permits.

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Old April 26, 2013, 01:59 PM   #18
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Act 746

Here's the text of the act;

http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assemb...asureno=HB1700

I don't intend to be a test case either, but it is damned interesting!
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MuzzleBlast
I don't intend to be a test case either, but it is damned interesting!
I feel certain that someone will be a test case in fairly short order, so I'll be watching our Court of Appeals and S.Ct. for that. I've also got some feelers out to various police departments to see how they're going to interpret this. I read a bunch of stuff on this, and it's FAR from clear as to whether LEOs will take this bill to mean we have open carry outside our home counties.
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:43 PM   #20
Win
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I wonder how beyond the county where the person lives is going to be interpreted. I have two residences (homes), in two counties. Presumably the county where I claim the homestead exemption and vote will be the county where I live. Or will it be where I spend the majority of my time? Somewhat moot as to me since I have a concealed carry permit, but relevant under open carry.

Also, will counties divided into two judicial districts with two county seats be deemed separate counties for purposes of the journey. They are treated as distinct counties for venue purposes so it seems logical they would be deemed the same way for purposes of this statute.


This looks very interesting, indeed.
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:47 PM   #21
Spats McGee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Win
Also, will counties divided into two judicial districts with two county seats be deemed separate counties for purposes of the journey. They are treated as distinct counties for venue purposes so it seems logical they would be deemed the same way for purposes of this statute.
I wouldn't think so, actually. Such counties may have different districts for venue purposes, but as far as I know, that's the ONLY time that the districts are treated separately. Not that I've ever lived in one of those counties, but as far as I know, it's treated as one county for all other purposes. Besides the Act makes reference only to "county," not "district."
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:53 PM   #22
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They're treated separately for purposes of criminal prosecution, i.e. in a split county the defendant is tried in the same judicial district in the county in which he is alleged to have committed the offense.

Having read this act a couple of times, that I never heard of until a few minutes ago, I can see how ArkansasCarry thinks it has enacted limited constitutional carry. This is going to be very interesting to see how this plays out!

When does it take effect?

edit: added "limited"
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Old April 26, 2013, 02:57 PM   #23
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I think it takes effect in July. I haven't seen that in any "official" written stuff, but that's the scuttlebutt that I'm hearing.
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Old April 26, 2013, 03:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Win
They're treated separately for purposes of criminal prosecution, . . . .
Yeah, I can tell you from personal experience that there's nothing quite like calling the clerk's office in "the other" district and having to say the line, "Please tell the judge that my client and I are in the OTHER courthouse, but we're on the way. There's no need for him to issue a warrant."
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Old April 26, 2013, 03:33 PM   #25
Win
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LOL, that's got to be awkward. Many of the counties on this side of the state are divided into two judicial districts. It's an odd way to do things.

The judicial district versus county lines interpretation can potentially make a big difference in some counties. Here in Sebastian County, everything outside of Fort Smith is in the other judicial district.
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