|Updated: 11/12/2012 10:20 pm
||Published: 11/12/2012 7:26 pm
Open carry of guns just went into effect in Oklahoma November 1st.
It's something legislators in Arkansas have been trying to pass for years, but always failed.
Lawmakers and gun owners think now is the time for Arkansas to adopt an open carry law.
Open carry of guns is a sensitive issue with strong opinions on both sides, and while passing open carry laws in the past have always failed in Arkansas, now with the support of neighboring state Oklahoma, open carry supporters say, it betters the chances Arkansas could pass a similar law.
43 states allow gun owners to openly display handguns in public. Nicholas Stehle with the organization Arkansas Carry says Arkansas is one of only 7 states that doesn't allow any kind of open carry.
Open carry bills failed in Arkansas in 2009 and 2011, but might not fail in the future. Gun owners say it's time for a change. A gunsmith for 41 years, Rick Breshears thinks crime will go down if open carry is passed in Arkansas. He says gun carrying citizens are a great deterrent. "I much prefer open carry because if you're standing in a store and someone comes in to rob it, you're standing there with your gun."
Right now, Arkansas lawmakers are working on several possible open carry bills. Stehle teaches a concealed weapons course and supports open carry. "I think it's important for Arkansas to see Oklahoma passed open carry and the world didn't end. There isn't blood running in the streets."
Breshears says people shouldn't feel threatened by, or be afraid of open carry. "Guns are not the root of all evil." Breshears just wants to be able to defend himself. "You can use them for offense or defense."
Since roughly 6% of adults in Arkansas are already armed, Breshears says he'd rather know about it. "I think it would be a little better if people could see it."
Governor Mike Beebe has spoken on this topic in the past saying he does not support open carry because he doesn't think it's good public policy.