LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The House Judiciary Committee passed out three bills on Tuesday that could have major implications for the state.
HB1386 would establish the Arkansas Second Amendment Liberties Safeguards Act and said no state agency shall enforce a law, statute, rule, or regulation regarding a personal firearm, firearm accessories, or ammunition that is made in Arkansas and stays in Arkansas.
The bill stated that the Attorney General shall defend a resident who is prosecuted by the Federal Government.
SB59 is the Intrastate Firearms Protection Act and is an accompanying bill to HB1386.
It stated that “ghost guns” are not subject to congressional authority to regulate. The bill said Congress can regulate interstate commerce but if a firearm, firearm accessory, or ammunition is manufactured and stays in Arkansas then those are not subject to any federal regulations.
SB298 is the Arkansas Sovereignty Act of 2021. It emphasized that the federal government has limited powers based on the Constitution and that all powers not bestowed to the federal government rest on the states. It says any action that the feds have taken outside of their listed jurisdictions is void, and of no force.
SB298 stated that federal Acts such as the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and any tax, levy, fee, or stamp imposed on firearms, firearm accessories, or ammunition could have a chilling effect on purchase and ownership by law-abiding citizens.
It said law enforcement agencies in the state shall not enforce or assist federal agencies in the enforcement of any of these regulations. It even assesses a penalty of at least $500 for each instance of doing so.
Nathan House owns Arkansas Armory in Sherwood and said he agrees with these actions.
“Arkansans are tired of people out of New York and people out of California deciding what gun law should be in the state of Arkansas,” House said.
Stephannie Lane Baker with the Benton County MOMS Demand Action said these bills are purely just for show.
“Instead of passing proven public safety measures that would actually reduce the burden of gun violence it seems like our legislature just intends on playing politics,” Baker said.
She said she believes in the Second Amendment but says gun ownership is a privilege and a huge responsibility.
“And yes you have the right but the right does not come without any strings and if you prove that you are an unrest or irresponsible citizen then you are giving up those rights just like in any other case,” Baker said.
House said the state of Arkansas is well within its right to buck back against federal government overreach.
“Whenever we see laws that are at the federal government level that are infringing on other constitutional rights, then the state of Arkansas has the right to decide that ‘you know what we’re not going to cooperate with that,” House said.
Baker believes if these bills do become law then taxpayer money and time will be wasted fighting a losing cause. She blamed some of the more far-right members of the General Assembly saying.
“The main point is that our communities are hurting and these extremists in the Arkansas Legislature are not helping,” Baker said.
House admits even if these do become law it will not instantly change the way he can do business as a gun shop owner.
He mentioned a similar law in Kansas but two men were still charged and found guilty of a felony for making their own suppressors.
“And I think people need to have a realistic expectation that there are still going to be levers that the federal government can pull out and have influence in the state of Arkansas,” House said.
The three bills now head to the full House for debate.