An open line: Plus more legal action on the NLR photo archive and Gov. Hutchinson joins open carry posse | Arkansas Blog

An open line: Plus more legal action on the NLR photo archive and Gov. Hutchinson joins open carry posse

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Here's your Belmont open line. Also:

* ARCHIVES LAWSUIT: Newspapers including the Salt Lake City Tribune filed suit in Pulaski County Friday  to get back archival photos sold to North Little Rock businessman John Rogers. It's just another chapter in a saga of a once highly touted business that has spawned investigations, lawsuits, big debt and ongoing contention.

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* OPEN CARRY: Advocates of open carry continue their campaign to get a hazy law on open carry of weapons to become a fait accompli in Arkansas without needed legislative action. The gun nuts began stirring the pot after the close of the legislative session at which the law had been clarified. But now they are pushing elected officials to declare their stand on the law, with aid from media.

The latest from KFSM,  which questioned Gov. Asa Hutchinson. He joins other Republicans in saying that a mucked-up technical tinkering with weapons law in 2013 produced de facto legalization of open carry in Arkansas. But he hastens to add:

However, the governor said Arkansans should check with the prosecuting attorney in their area before openly carrying a handgun to be certain the prosecutor won’t pursue charges.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, too, has said the law is unclear though she believes open carry is legal (her predecessor did not) and vowed to work on clarifying things. After doing precisely nothing about it during the legislative session.

Reminder: The law the Republicans now cite was passed after the legislature soundly rejected a bill to explicitly allow open carry. If there is to be open carry, let's do it right. Propose a law and pass it. Why do Republicans want to slip-slide around it and claim legalization by hazy drafting? Perhaps they fear many voters aren't as nuts about a proliferation of guns in public as they are and think a straight-up vote would fail.

The governor himself sounds a little weenieish for a former paid NRA spokesman. 

The governor added he is not in favor of seeing large numbers of people carrying handguns openly.

“I don’t want a society in which everybody is open carrying, so I think it’s not something you encourage,” he said. “I think you have to evaluate it in terms of what the constitutional rights are and what the law is.”

I'll believe these Republicans are for open carry when Rutledge takes down the no-gun sign in her office and Griffin and Hutchinson back open carry in the state Capitol building, from legislative galleries to their respective offices. Everybody would be safer then, right?


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