In the Thick of It: 2016’s Busy Legislative Cycle

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

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Across the country, new gun legislation is being proposed at a steady pace, and our attorneys are hard at work, writing model laws, educating lawmakers and the public on smart gun laws, and tracking these bills as they wind their way through the legislative system. Last year, we tracked more than 1,300 bills and expect this year to be another busy one for smart gun laws at the state level—not to mention the ballot initiatives that will enable voters to enact lifesaving smart gun laws this November. For a full analysis of this cycle’s firearms legislation, visit our biweekly publication Gun Law Trendwatch.

We’ve started the year with critical victories in key states:

  • In Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal vetoed a deadly bill that would have allowed anyone over 21 to carry a concealed, loaded weapon on college campuses, which would have increased the opportunity for violent shootings.
  • In Nebraska, lawmakers stopped progress on a preemption bill that would have prevented municipalities from enacting lifesaving local laws, like ones that keep guns away from domestic violence shelters and prevent juvenile gang members and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining deadly weapons.
  • In New Mexico, lawmakers passed powerful, bipartisan legislation to strengthen that state’s background check system by requiring state courts to report mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Closing this gap in the background checks law will help keep guns from falling into the wrong hands.
  • In Florida, lawmakers stopped progress on an open carry bill, which would have allowed 1.5 million people with concealed weapons permits to openly carry handguns in the Sunshine State.

The most exciting advances for smart gun laws still lie ahead—this November, voters in Maine and Nevada will see initiatives for universal background checks on their ballots. And signatures were recently turned in for two more ballot initiatives: one for Washington State to adopt a gun violence protective order (GVPO) law and another in California to support the Safety for All Act, sponsored by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom.

We’re also keeping an eye on some extreme examples of gun lobby–sponsored legislation that pose a significant risk to public safety, including an Arizona bill to permit guns in government buildings and a bill in Oklahoma to allow people to carry guns in public without a permit, a top priority in the gun lobby’s deadly agenda.

Our legal experts stand on the front lines of the fight for smart gun laws that save lives—our attorneys track and analyze gun laws in all 50 states, file amicus briefs in critical Second Amendment cases across the country, and work with lawmakers and advocates to craft and promote legislation that will reduce gun violence and save lives. 2016 is shaping up to be another remarkable year for gun safety.

To learn more about the gun laws moving through statehouses this year, check out Gun Law Trendwatch.

Private Sales in Arizona

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

Arizona has no law requiring a background check on the purchaser of a firearm when the seller is not a licensed dealer, although no person may knowingly sell or transfer a deadly weapon to a prohibited possessor.1 All sales are also subject to Arizona’s age restrictions. Arizona has no other laws regulating the manner in which guns are sold.

Furthermore, in 2016, the legislature passed a law that prohibits the state or any political subdivision from enacting or implementing any additional fee, tax, assessment, lien, or other encumbrance on the transfer of a firearm between two private, unlicensed parties who are not prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law.2

See our Private Sales Policy Summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3102(A)(5). []
  2. Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 44-7852. []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Florida

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Florida does not prohibit a person from carrying a concealed firearm on or about his or her person if the person has a license to carry a concealed firearm.1 Florida is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services must issue a concealed weapons license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. The Department must issue a license to carry a concealed weapon if the applicant:

  •  Is a U.S. resident and a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident alien of the United States, or a certified consular security official of a foreign government that maintains diplomatic relations and treaties of commerce, friendship, and navigation with the U.S.;
  • Is 21 years of age or older;
  • Does not suffer from a physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a weapon or firearm;
  • Is not ineligible to possess a firearm due to a felony conviction;
  • Has not been committed for the abuse of a controlled substance or found guilty of a crime under the Florida drug abuse prevention and control statutes or similar laws of any other state relating to controlled substances within the previous three years;
  • Does not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages or other substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired. An applicant is presumed to chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages or other substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired if, within the previous three years, the applicant:
    • Was committed under Florida’s substance abuse services provisions or similar laws of any other state;
    • Was convicted of using a firearm while under the influence of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances;
    • Was deemed a habitual offender for disorderly intoxication; or
    • Has two or more convictions for driving under the influence;
  • Desires a legal means to carry a concealed weapon or firearm for lawful self-defense;
  • Demonstrates competence with a firearm (see below);
  • Has not been adjudicated an incapacitated person, unless five years have elapsed since the applicant’s restoration to capacity by court order;
  • Has not been committed to a mental institution, unless the applicant produces a certificate from a licensed psychiatrist stating that he or she has not suffered from disability for at least five years prior;
  • Has not had an adjudication of guilt withheld or the imposition of a sentence suspended on any felony unless three years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled, or expunction has occurred;
  • Has not had an adjudication of guilt withheld or the imposition of a sentence suspended on any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence unless three years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled, or the record has been expunged;
  • Has not been issued an injunction that is currently in force and effect and that restrains the applicant from committing acts of domestic violence or acts of repeat violence; and
  • Is not prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm by any other provision of Florida or federal law.2

In addition, the Department must deny a license if the applicant has been found guilty of, had an adjudication of guilt withheld for, or had the imposition of a sentence suspended for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor, unless three years have elapsed since probation or any other conditions set by the court have been fulfilled or the record has been sealed or expunged.3 The Department must issue a license or deny an application within 90 days after receiving the application materials.4 If the Department receives criminal history information with no final disposition on a crime which may disqualify the applicant, the time limitation can be suspended until receipt of the final disposition or proof of restoration of civil and firearm rights.5

Firearm Safety Training

An applicant for a Florida concealed firearms license must demonstrate competence with a firearm through one of the following methods:

  • Completion of a hunter education or hunter safety course approved by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission or a similar agency of another state;
  • Completion of a National Rifle Association firearms safety or training course, or a firearms training or safety course or class conducted by a state-certified or National Rifle Association-certified firearms instructor;
  • Completion of a firearms safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by a law enforcement, junior college, college, or private or public institution or organization or firearms training school, utilizing instructors certified by the National Rifle Association, Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission, or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services;
  • Completion of a law enforcement firearms safety or training course or class offered for security guards, investigators, special deputies, or any division or subdivision of law enforcement or security enforcement; or
  • Presents evidence of equivalent experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competition or military service.6

Duration & Renewal

Florida concealed firearms licenses are valid for a period of seven years from the date of issue.7 The Department must mail to the licensee a renewal form no less than 90 days before the expiration date of the license.8 A person whose license has been permanently expired may reapply for licensure; however, a full application must be submitted and background investigation conducted.9

Disclosure or Use of Information

Personal identifying information of an individual who has applied for or received a license to carry a concealed firearm held by the Department is confidential and exempt from state public records provisions and access to public records and meetings provisions.10 The Department maintains an automated listing of license holders and related pertinent information, and such information is available on-line, upon request, at all times to law enforcement agencies through the Florida Crime Information Center.11

Reciprocity

A resident of the United States who is a non-resident of Florida may carry a concealed firearm while in Florida, provided that:

  • The non-resident is 21 years of age or older, and has in her or his immediate possession a valid license to carry a concealed firearm issued to the non-resident in her or his state of residence; and
  • The non-resident’s state of residence honors Florida concealed firearm licenses.12
  1. A person who carries a concealed firearm on or about his or her person without a license commits a felony of the third degree, although this restriction does not apply to a person who carries a concealed weapon, or a person who may lawfully possess a firearm and who carries a concealed firearm, on or about his or her person while in the act of evacuating during a mandatory evacuation order issued during a state of emergency declared by the Governor or by a local authority. Fla. Stat. § 790.01(2), (3). Note, too, that the license requirements of Fla. Stat. § 790.06 do not apply in various circumstances involving military personnel, law enforcement officers, government employees, security guards, messengers, regularly enrolled members of shooting or firearms collecting clubs (while at or going to/from club events), persons “engaged in fishing, camping, or lawful hunting” (or while going to/from such expeditions), or persons possessing arms at their home or place of business, among others. Fla. Stat. § 790.25(3). []
  2. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(2). A license may be suspended or revoked per Fla. Stat. § 790.06(3), (10). []
  3. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(3). Application and other license requirements are detailed under Fla. Stat. § 790.06. []
  4. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(6)(c). []
  5. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(6)(c)(3). []
  6. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(2)(h). []
  7. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(1). []
  8. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(11). []
  9. Id. []
  10. Fla. Stat. § 790.0601(1). Information made confidential and exempt must be disclosed: 1) With the express written consent of the applicant or licensee or his or her legally authorized representative; 2) By court order upon a showing of good cause; or 3) Upon request by a law enforcement agency in connection with the performance of lawful duties, including access to any automated database containing such information maintained by the Department. Fla. Stat. § 790.0601(2). []
  11. Fla. Stat. § 790.06(7). []
  12. Fla. Stat. § 790.015. A list of states that honor Florida concealed firearm licenses is posted on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity page of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Licensing. []

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Idaho

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Idaho prohibits any person under age 18 from possessing any handgun.1 In addition, anyone under age 18 is prohibited from possessing a weapon (defined under state law to include any “pistol, revolver or gun”) unless he or she: 1) has the written permission of his or her parent or guardian to possess the weapon; or 2) is accompanied by his or her parent or guardian while he or she possesses the weapon.2 Any person under age 12 in possession of a weapon must be accompanied by an adult.3

The possession prohibitions concerning minors do not apply to any:

  • Patron firing at a lawfully operated target concession at an amusement park or similar location, provided that the firearm to be used is firmly chained or affixed to the counter;
  • Person in attendance at a hunter’s safety course or a firearms safety course, including while traveling to or from these activities with an unloaded firearm;
  • Person engaging in practice or any other lawful use of a firearm at an established range or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited by state or local law, including while traveling to or from these locations with an unloaded firearm;
  • Person engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm, or participating in or practicing for such competition, including while traveling to or from these activities with an unloaded firearm;
  • Minor under age 18 who is on real property with the permission of the owner, licensee, or lessee of the property and who has the permission of a parent or legal guardian or the owner, licensee, or lessee to possess a firearm not otherwise in violation of the law, including while traveling to or from the location with an unloaded firearm; or
  • Resident or non-resident hunters with a valid hunting license or other persons who are lawfully engaged in hunting, including while traveling to or from such hunting activities with an unloaded firearm.4

In addition, no person under age 12 shall have in his or her possession any shotgun, rifle or other firearm while in the fields or forests or in any tent, camp, auto or any other vehicle in the state of Idaho, except that the holder of a youth small game license or youth hunter education graduate license, if accompanied by an adult licensed to hunt in Idaho, may possess a firearm for hunting while in the fields or forests.5

Additionally, as of July 1, 2016, state law requires the sheriff of a county to issue a license to carry a concealed weapon to those applicants between the ages of eighteen (18) and twenty-one (21) years who meet the eligibility requirements of Idaho Code Ann. section 18-3302K.6

Federal law prohibits the sale by a licensed firearms dealer of a handgun or handgun ammunition to anyone under age 21.7 This provision does not prohibit private sellers (sellers not federally licensed) from selling handguns and handgun ammunition to persons under age 21, however.

For additional information, see the Idaho Trafficking section.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302F(1). []
  2. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302E(1); see also Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302A. []
  3. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302E(2). []
  4. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302G. []
  5. Idaho Code Ann. § 36-1508(b). []
  6. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(20). []
  7. 18 U.S.C. § 922(b)(1), (c)(1). []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Idaho

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

In 2016, Idaho enacted a law allowing an individual to carry a hidden, loaded handgun in public without a permit provided the individual is:

  • Over twenty-one (21) years of age; and
  • A resident of Idaho.1

Additionally, the individual must not be:

  • Ineligible to own, possess or receive a firearm under state or federal law;
  • Formally charged with a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • Adjudicated guilty in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • A fugitive from justice;
  • An unlawful user of marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance as defined by federal law;2
  • Currently suffering from, or has been adjudicated as having suffered from any of the following based on substantial evidence (unless the person has successfully petitioned for relief from the firearm prohibition):
    • Lacking mental capacity, per state law;3
    • Mentally ill, per state law;4
    • Gravely disabled, per state law;5
    • An incapacitated person, per state law;6
    • Someone who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • Someone who has received a withheld judgment or suspended sentence for punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one (1) year, unless the person has successfully completed probation;
  • Someone who has received a period of probation after having been adjudicated guilty of, or received a withheld judgment for, a misdemeanor offense that has as an element the intentional use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against the person or property of another, unless the person has successfully completed probation;
  • An alien illegally in the United States;
  • Someone who has renounced his or her U.S. citizenship;
  • Free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal or sentencing for a crime which would disqualify her or him from obtaining a concealed weapons license; or
  • Subject to a protection order issued under state law that restrains the person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child.7

Concealed Carry Licenses 

The 2016 law retains the licensing process to allow individuals who wish to carry concealed handguns outside of Idaho to do so in states that require licenses. Whether the state recognizes Idaho permits, however, depends on the law of that state.

Under the 2016 law, individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 may also obtain a license to carry a loaded, concealed handgun8. Individuals over 18 years of age, however, are not required to have a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the limits of or confines of any city, if the person is not otherwise disqualified.9

Idaho is a “shall issue” state, meaning that a county sheriff must issue a concealed weapons license if an applicant meets certain qualifications.10

Any person applying for original issuance of a license to carry concealed weapons must submit his fingerprints with the completed license application. Within five days after the filing of an application, the sheriff must forward the applicant’s completed license application and fingerprints to the Idaho State Police.11 The State Police must conduct a national fingerprint-based records check, an inquiry through the NICS database, and a check of any applicable state database, including a check for any mental health records for conditions or commitments that would disqualify a person from possessing a firearm under state or federal law, and return the results to the sheriff within 60 days.12

Additional application requirements, as well as permit suspension and disqualification information, are detailed under Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302.))

Firearm Safety Training

A county sheriff may also require an applicant to demonstrate familiarity with a firearm.13 An applicant may meet demonstrate familiarity if he or she “[i]s licensed or has been licensed to carry a firearm in [Idaho] or a county or municipality, unless the license has been revoked for cause.”14

Duration & Renewal

Idaho concealed weapons licenses are valid for five years from the date of issuance.15 Licenses may be renewed for five-year periods, and renewal applicants must complete an application and undergo a new background check.16

Disclosure or Use of Information

Upon issuing a license under the state law, the county sheriff will notify the ISP on a form or in a manner prescribed by the ISP.17 Information relating to an applicant or licensee received or maintained pursuant to state law by the county sheriff or ISP is confidential and exempt from disclosure under state law.18

Idaho also makes confidential any information relating to a retired law enforcement officer that is maintained or received pursuant to a concealed weapon permit or application for a permit.19

Reciprocity

Any person who has a valid permit from a state or local law enforcement agency or court authorizing him or her to carry a concealed weapon in another state does not need to obtain a concealed weapons license under state law.20 However, a permit issued in another state will only be considered valid if the permit is in the licensee’s physical possession.21 Under state law, the state attorney general is required to negotiate reciprocal agreements with other states in order to recognize out-of-state licenses to carry concealed firearms.22

For a list of states with which Idaho has signed formal reciprocity agreements, see the Idaho Permit Reciprocity page, maintained by the Idaho Attorney General.

Enhanced Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons

Idaho enacted a law in 2015 providing for the issuance of “enhanced” licenses to carry concealed weapons.23 The rules and application procedures applicable to licensed to carry concealed weapons above are generally applicable to enhanced licenses as well, except that enhanced license holders must also be over the age of 21, have been a legal resident of the state of Idaho for at least six consecutive months immediately before applying for a license, and must have successfully completed a qualifying handgun course within the 12 month period immediately preceding filing the application.24 County sheriffs must issue an enhanced license to applicants who meet these qualifications.25

 

  1. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(3)(f). []
  2. See 21 U.S.C. § 802. []
  3. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-210. []
  4. See Idaho Code Ann. § 66-317. []
  5. See Idaho Code Ann. § 66-317. []
  6. See Idaho Code Ann. § 15-5-101(a). []
  7. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(11). []
  8. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(20). []
  9. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(3)(d). []
  10. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(7), (20). []
  11. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(10). []
  12. Id. []
  13. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(9). []
  14. Id. []
  15. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(7). []
  16. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(16). []
  17. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(1), See Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302. []
  18. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(1). See Idaho Code Ann. §§ 18-3302, 9-338. []
  19. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 18-3302H(14), 9-340B. []
  20. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(5)(g). []
  21. Id. []
  22. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302(23). []
  23. 2015 ID H.B. 301, enacting Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302K. []
  24. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302K(4). Requirements regarding qualifying handgun courses are outlined in Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302K(4)(c). []
  25. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302K(1). []

Guns in Schools in Idaho

Posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

Idaho prohibits any person from possessing a firearm on the property of a private or public elementary or secondary school or in those portions of any building, stadium or other structure on school grounds which, at the time of the violation, were being used for an activity sponsored by or through a school, or while riding school provided transportation.1

Exceptions to this prohibition include: 1) a person who lawfully possesses a firearm as part of a program, event, activity or other circumstance approved by the school board of trustees or governing board; 2) any adult not enrolled in a public or private elementary or secondary school who has lawful possession of a firearm secured and locked in his or her vehicle; 3) a person who lawfully possesses a firearm in a private vehicle while delivering minor children, students or school employees to and from school or a school activity;2 and 4) any person who is authorized by a person, board or other entity having authority over the building or facility to carry a concealed weapon.3

In addition, the board of trustees shall expel for a period of not less than one year, or may deny enrollment to, a student who possessed a firearm on school property. The board may modify the expulsion or denial of enrollment order on a case-by-case basis.4

Idaho authorizes the Board of Regents of the University of Idaho, the boards of trustees of the state colleges and universities, the board of professional-technical education and the boards of trustees of community colleges to prescribe rules and regulations relating to firearms, although this authority does not extend to enhanced concealed carry permit holders.5 Idaho law also generally prohibits a person, including a concealed carry permit holder, from carrying a concealed weapon within a student dormitory or residence hall, or within the building of a “public entertainment facility” owned by a college or university (theaters, auditoriums, sports arenas, etc., with a seating capacity of at least 1,000) provided that proper signage is conspicuously posted at each public entrance to the facility notifying attendees of any restriction on the possession of firearms in the facility during the game or event.6

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

  1. Idaho Code Ann. §§ 18-3302D(1)(a), (b), 18-3302C; see also Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302D(1)(a). []
  2. See Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302D(4). []
  3. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3302C. []
  4. Idaho Code Ann. § 33-205. []
  5. Idaho Code Ann. § 18-3309. []
  6. Id. These restrictions are subject to limited exceptions, and do not apply to a person who possesses a firearm in a private vehicle while delivering students, employees or other persons to and from a university, college or public entertainment facility. Id. []

Under the Gun Screening Invitation

Posted on Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

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Open Carrying in Arkansas

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016

Arkansas does not allow a handgun to be carried on or about the person, openly or concealed, if it is “readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ [it] as a weapon against a person.”1 The statute does not apply if, at the time of the act of carrying a handgun, the person is:

  • In his or her own dwelling, place of business (excluding a “vehicular business” such as a taxi cab or other motor vehicle used for commercial purposes;2) or on property in which he or she has a possessory or proprietary interest;
  • Assisting a law enforcement officer, correctional officer, or member of the armed forces acting in the course and scope of official duties pursuant to [their] direction or request;
  • Carrying a weapon when upon a journey;3. However, a firearm may not be carried through a commercial airport at the security checkpoint or in the person’s checked baggage if it is not a lawfully declared weapon.4
  • Hunting game 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;
  • In a motor vehicle and the holder of a valid license to carry a concealed weapon.5

See our Open Carrying policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120(a). See also Ark. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2015-064 (Aug. 28, 2015)(interpreting § 5-73-120(a) to allow a person to carry a handgun openly, but not concealed, without a permit so long as he or she does not have a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun against a person. []
  2. See Boston v. State, 952 S.W.2d 671 (Ark. 1997). []
  3. See Riggins v. State, 703 S.W.2d 463, 464 (Ark. Ct. App. 1986), “[a] journey has long been defined as ‘where one travels a distance from home sufficient to carry him beyond the circle of his neighbors and general acquaintances and outside of the routine of his daily business…'” (citations omitted []
  4. Id., See also Ark. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2015-064 (Aug. 28, 2015)(interpreting the journey exception to apply when a person is in the process of traveling by vehicle outside his or her county and only while the handgun remains in a vehicle. []
  5. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120(c). []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in Arkansas

Posted on Monday, April 18th, 2016

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Arkansas prohibits carrying a weapon on or about the person or in a vehicle for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the weapon against a person.1 It is permissible to carry a handgun without a license, however, if a person is over eighteen and is on “a journey beyond the county in which the person lives.”2

Arkansas is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a concealed weapons license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. The Director of the Department of Arkansas State Police (“the Director” and “State Police”) must issue a license to carry a concealed handgun if the applicant:

  • Is a citizen of the United States or a legal permanent resident;
  • Has been a resident of Arkansas continuously for the past 90 days or longer;
  • Is 21 years of age or older;
  • Does not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a handgun and has not threatened or attempted suicide;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, without having been pardoned and had firearms possession rights restored, or having had the record sealed or expunged for a sentence prior to March 13, 1995;
  • Is not subject to any federal, state or local law which makes it unlawful to receive, possess or transport any firearm, and has had his or her background check successfully completed through the Department of Arkansas State Police and the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System;
  • Does not chronically or habitually abuse controlled substances to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired (i.e., the applicant has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a treatment facility for the abuse of a controlled substance or has been found guilty of a crime under the of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, § 5-64-101 et seq., or similar laws, within the last three years);
  • Does not chronically or habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that his or her normal faculties are impaired (i.e., the applicant has been voluntarily or involuntarily committed as an alcoholic to a treatment facility or has been convicted of two or more offenses related to the use of alcohol within the last three years);
  • Desires a legal means to carry a concealed handgun to defend himself or herself;
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent;
  • Has not been voluntarily or involuntarily committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility;
  • Is not a fugitive from justice or does not have an active warrant for his or her arrest;
  • Has satisfactorily completed a training course as prescribed and approved by the Director; and
  • Signs a statement of allegiance to the United States and Arkansas Constitutions.3

The Director may deny a license to carry a concealed handgun if, within the preceding five years, the applicant has been found guilty of one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor, or for the offense of carrying a weapon.4 The Director may also deny a license if the sheriff or chief of police of the applicant’s place of residence submits an affidavit that the applicant has been, or is reasonably likely to be:

[A] danger to himself or herself or others or to the community at large, as demonstrated by past patterns of behavior or participation in an incident involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence, or if the applicant is under a criminal investigation at the time of applying for a license to carry a concealed handgun.5

The Director has 120 days to review the completed application, and in that period must issue the license or deny the application based solely on the ground that the applicant fails to qualify under the specified criteria.6

When the State Police receives notification from any law enforcement agency or court that a licensee has been found guilty of, or has pled guilty or no contest to, any crime involving the use of a weapon, the license shall be immediately revoked.7 In addition, the Director must revoke the license of any licensee who has pleaded guilty or no contest to, or been found guilty of, an alcohol-related offense committed while carrying a handgun.8

The Director may revoke a license if the licensee has been found guilty of one or more crimes of violence within the preceding three years.9

Firearm Safety Training

Arkansas requires concealed carry permit applicants to complete a training course prescribed and approved by the State Police.10 Training can be obtained from any person who is registered with the State Police as a Firearms Safety Instructor.11 Arkansas does not mandate how many hours of training applicants must obtain. Rather, instructors are required to evaluate an applicant’s competence via a live firing demonstration. Instructors may only certify that an applicant’s training is complete if he or she demonstrates “a basic level of knowledge, understanding, and practical operation for safe handling of a handgun.”12 In addition, the State Police publishes a manual that contains the minimum information to be covered in a training class. The manual is available at the State Police website.

Duration & Renewal

Licenses to carry concealed handguns issued or renewed after July 31, 2007, are valid for five years from the date of issuance.13 (A license to carry a concealed handgun issued before that time was valid for only four years.) Those seeking to renew their license must pay a $35 renewal fee plus costs for processing a new background check, complete a training course and provide a digital photograph.14

Disclosure or Use of Information

The State Police must maintain an automated listing of license holders available on-line, upon request, at all times, to all law enforcement agencies through the Arkansas Crime Information Center.15

Medical, criminal, or other records collected pursuant to the licensing process must be kept confidential.16

The following records are exempt from public disclosure:

Records pertaining to the issuance, renewal, expiration, suspension, or revocation of a license to carry a concealed handgun, or a present or past licensee under section 5-73-301 et seq., including without limitation all records provided to or obtained by any local, state, or federal governments, their officials, agents, or employees in the investigation of an applicant, licensee, or past licensee and all records pertaining to a criminal or health history check conducted on the applicant, licensee, or past licensee.17

There are exceptions for:

  • Information released to a law enforcement agency for the purpose of assisting in a criminal investigation or prosecution, or for determining validity of or eligibility for a license;
  • The names of an applicant, licensee, or past licensee if contained in investigative or arrest reports of law enforcement that are subject to release as public records.18

Reciprocity

Arkansas recognizes all out-of-state licenses to carry a concealed handgun regardless of whether the state that issued the license recognizes concealed handgun licenses issued by Arkansas.19  A person who has a valid concealed weapons permit from another state who becomes a resident of Arkansas may use an abbreviated procedure to transfer that license to Arkansas.20

  1. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-120. Note that a 2015 Arkansas attorney general opinion concluded that section 5-73-120 does not permit concealed carry without a permit. Ark. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2015-064 (Aug. 28, 2015). []
  2. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-119(e). See Ark. Att’y Gen. Op. No. 2015-064 (Aug. 28, 2015)(interpreting the journey exception to apply when a person is in the process of traveling by vehicle outside his or her county and only while the handgun remains in a vehicle. []
  3. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-309(1). For detailed provisions concerning the application and background check processes, including information required on the application form, see §§ 5-73-310 and 5-73-311. []
  4. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-308(a). []
  5. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-308(b). []
  6. Id. []
  7. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-312(b). []
  8. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-312(c). []
  9. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-308(a)(1). []
  10. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-309(1). []
  11. 130 00 Code of Arkansas Rules and Regulations 001, et. seq. []
  12. Id. []
  13. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-302. []
  14. Ark. Code Ann. §§ 5-73-313(b), (d), (e). []
  15. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-307(a). []
  16. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-311(a)(4)(C). []
  17. Ark. Code Ann. § 25-19-105(b)(19). []
  18. Id. []
  19. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-321. []
  20. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-73-319. []

Concealed Weapons Permitting in West Virginia

Posted on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. Please note, some of the laws discussed on this page were enacted in 2016 and may not yet be in effect.

In 2016, West Virginia repealed a law requiring a person to have a permit to carry a hidden, loaded weapon in public.1 Individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 are still required to possess a permit to carry a handgun.2

For individuals between the ages of 18 and 21, and people who desire a concealed carry permit so that they can carry their firearms in states that require permits, West Virginia maintains its permitting system.

West Virginia is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a concealed deadly weapon license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Any person wishing to obtain a concealed deadly weapon license must apply to the sheriff of his or her county pursuant to West Virginia law and shall be issued a license if the applicant:3

  • Is 21 years of age or older (individuals between the ages of 18 and 21 may apply for a provisional permit to carry4;
  • Is a bona fide United States citizen or legal resident, and resident of the state and of the county in which the application is made and has a valid driver’s license or other state-issued photo identification showing the residence;
  • Is not addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance or drug, and is not “an unlawful user thereof,” as evidenced by either of the following within the three years immediately prior to the application: 1) Residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism or alcohol detoxification or drug treatment; or 2) Two or more convictions for driving while under the influence or driving while impaired;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, (unless the conviction has been expunged or set aside or the applicant’s civil rights have been restored or the applicant has been pardoned for the offense);
  • Has not been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” as defined under federal law (this provision was added in 2012);
  •  Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of violence within the five years immediately preceding the application;
  • Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of assault or battery under state law (or has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense with similar essential elements of these crimes in another jurisdiction outside West Virginia) in which the victim was a: 1) current or former spouse; 2) current or former sexual or intimate partner; 3) person with whom the defendant cohabits or has cohabited; 4) a parent or guardian; 5) defendant’s child or ward; or 6) member of the defendant’s household at the time of the offense.5
  • Is not under indictment for a felony offense or is not currently serving a sentence of confinement, parole, probation or other court-ordered supervision imposed by a court of any jurisdiction, or is the subject of an emergency or temporary domestic violence protective order, or is the subject of a final domestic violence protective order entered by a court of any jurisdiction;
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, unless the person presents a court order reflecting that the person is no longer under the disability and the applicant’s right to possess or receive a firearm have been restored;
  • Is not otherwise prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm by state or federal law; and
  • Has completed a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun that meets the requirements of state law.6

For both initial and renewal applications, the sheriff must conduct an investigation including an inquiry of the NICS database, the West Virginia criminal history record responses, and the National Interstate Identification Index, and the sheriff must review the information received in order to verify that the applicant’s required information is true and correct.7 A license may not be issued unless the issuing sheriff has verified through NICS that the available information does not indicate that receipt or possession of a firearm by the applicant would be in violation of West Virginia or federal firearm prohibition statutes.8

In 2012, West Virginia removed a requirement that the applicant be “physically and mentally competent to carry such weapons.” Additional application and background check requirements are provided by statute.9 License revocation information is also provided by statute.10

Firearm Safety Training

All persons applying for a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in West Virginia must complete a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun. In 2016, the state added a requirement that the training include live firing exercises. Any course meeting the following criteria are deemed acceptable:

  •  Official National Rifle Association handgun safety or training courses;
  • Handgun safety or training courses or classes available to the general public offered by an official law-enforcement organization, community college, junior college, college or private or public institution or organization or handgun training schools utilizing instructors duly certified by the institution;
  • Handgun training or safety courses or classes conducted by a handgun instructor certified as such by the state or by the National Rifle Association; or
  • Handgun training or safety courses or classes conducted by any branch of the United States Military, Reserve or National Guard.11

A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes or an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization or group that conducted or taught said course or class attesting to the successful completion of the course or class by the applicant or a copy of any document which shows successful completion of the course or class shall constitute evidence of qualification under this section.12

Duration & Renewal

A West Virginia concealed deadly weapons license is valid for five years.13 Renewal applicants are not required to complete a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun if the applicant previously completed such a course.14

Disclosure or Use of Information

The issuing sheriff is required to furnish the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police with a certified copy of any approved license applications and, when requested, a certified list of all licenses issued in the county.15 The Superintendent shall maintain a registry of all persons who have been issued concealed weapons licenses.16

Reciprocity

Because in 2016 West Virginia repealed its law requiring an individual obtain a permit to carry a hidden, loaded gun in public, non-residents over the age of 21 do not need a permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state.

For 18 to 21 year-old non-residents, West Virginia will recognize valid out-of-state concealed carry permits.17 West Virginia also requires the holder of an out-of-state permit to:

  • Have the permit or license in his or her immediate possession; and
  • Not be a resident of West Virginia.18

The West Virginia Attorney General shall seek to obtain recognition of West Virginia concealed handgun licenses and enter into and execute reciprocity agreements on behalf of the State of West Virginia with other states for the recognition of concealed handgun permits.19

Every 12 months, the Attorney General must inquire of the concealed handgun permitting authorities in each other state whether a West Virginia concealed weapons licensee may carry a concealed handgun in their state and whether a West Virginia resident may carry a concealed handgun in that state based upon having a valid West Virginia concealed handgun permit, pursuant to the laws of that state or by the execution of a valid reciprocity agreement between the states.20

For a list of states with which West Virginia has signed formal reciprocity agreements, see the West Virginia Permit Reciprocity page, maintained by the West Virginia Attorney General.

 

  1. W. Va. Code § 61-7-3, effective May 24, 2016. []
  2. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4a as enacted by WV H 4145. []
  3. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4(f). []
  4. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4a as enacted by WV H 4145. []
  5. See W. Va. Code §§ 61-2-28, 61-2-9(b), (c). []
  6. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4. []
  7. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4(b). []
  8. Id. []
  9. See W. Va. Code § 61-7-4. []
  10. See W. Va. Code § 61-7-5. []
  11. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4 (d) as amended by 2016 WV H 4145. []
  12. Id. []
  13. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4(g). []
  14. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4(a)(9). []
  15. W. Va. Code § 61-7-4(m). []
  16. Id. []
  17. W. Va. Code § 61-7-6(8). The law enacted in 2016 allowing 18 to 21 year-old non-residents to carry with valid out-of-state permits subjects these individuals to the provisions of W. Va. Code § 61-7-6a which specifies that in order for an out-of-state permit to be recognized in West Virginia, the permit-holder must be at least 21 years of age. Despite its apparent contradiction with section 61-7-6, this provision of 61-7-6a was not repealed or amended by 2016 WV H 4145.). []
  18. W. Va. Code § 61-7-6a. []
  19. W. Va. Code § 61-7-6a(d). []
  20. W. Va. Code § 61-7-6a(f). []