Guns in Arkansas

A parent-led booster club supporting an Arkansas school district that was the site of a 1998 shooting is drawing criticism for its plans to auction off an AR-15 rifle.

The fundraiser is to raise money so Westside High School's band can go to Florida for a performance.

In 1998, four students and one teacher were killed when two students, then ages 11 and 13, opened fire at Westside Middle School near Jonesboro. One shooter, Andrew Golden, later changed his name to Drew Grant and died in a car crash earlier this summer.

Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Law enforcement and education officials from around the state are meeting in North Little Rock this week to discuss best practices for improving school security.

The 14th annual Arkansas Safe Schools Conference comes one week after the Arkansas School Safety Commission released its preliminary report on how to thwart and respond to threats of school violence.

Guns
Jacqueline Froelich / Arkansas Public Media

Five months after the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Act, a voter-approved ballot initiative, officially took effect, laws regarding handguns have been greatly expanded in Arkansas. But gun owners who register as medical marijuana patients are federally prohibited from purchasing or owning a gun.

On a recent morning, a lone silver-haired man practiced shooting his semi-automatic handgun inside a Tontitown gun range. He slowly fired off a round of bullets, stoped to study his target, a paper human silhouette in the distance riddled with holes, reloaded and took aim again.

guns in schools
flickr.com

Threats of gun violence have resulted in arrests at a handful of Arkansas schools in the days following a mass shooting at a Florida high school.

School district officials in Fayetteville and Gurdon said local police are investigating both online and verbal threats of violence reported to school administration. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported schools in Berryville, Mammoth Spring and Star City saw similar threats since the Feb. 14 mass shooting and reported them to police.

Trent Garner
Arkansas Times

An Arkansas lawmaker says he won't push for a measure easing a requirement for concealed handgun trainers during this year's session after the governor said he supports delaying the mandate's deadline so the issue can be addressed later.

Republican Sen. Trent Garner said Thursday he'll drop his proposal removing the requirement that concealed carry instructors offer both the regular training and the enhanced training under an expanded concealed handgun law approved last year.

  

In December, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a memorandum to Col. Bill Bryant, director of Arkansas State Police as well as to state prosecutors declaring that the open carry of a handguns is protected by law and allowed, except for unlawful use and in certain restricted places. The governor wrote that the purpose of his guidance was to resolve confusion regarding the state’s gun possession law, amended five years ago.

The statute, as written, however remains open to interpretation.

Robinson Center
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Beginning this weekend all people attending live, ticketed performances at venues owned by the city of Little Rock will have to go through metal detectors. Those venues include Robinson Center Music Hall, First Security Amphitheater and the Statehouse Convention Center.

Efforts to improve safety at large gatherings like concerts were stepped up after October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman firing down from a hotel room at a country music festival killed 58 people and injured more than 800.

State lawmakers took a step toward enhanced concealed carry on college campuses Friday in spite of some pushback from firearm trainers who don’t want to be required to teach the new class for compensation they say is too low.

 

State Rep. Bob Ballinger (R-Hindsville) was among the majority of lawmakers who voted to approve the plan anyway.

“You know, when this is done, there will be less gun-free zones which are soft targets in Arkansas. There will be more people, carrying in more places, being able to protect themselves and others in more places when this rule is implemented. That’s called liberty,” he said at Friday’s legislative council meeting.

Jan Morgan in a photo posted to Facebook on August 18.
Facebook

A gun rights advocate who once declared her firing range "Muslim-free" says she's exploring challenging Arkansas' governor in the state's Republican primary next year.

Jan Morgan said Tuesday she's forming an exploratory committee and will travel around Arkansas as she considers whether to run against Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson next year. Hutchinson announced in May that he was seeking a second term.

Power Bar and Ultra Lounge Mass Shooting
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

One of 28 people injured when gunfire erupted during a concert at a Little Rock nightclub last month has sued the club's manager and the owner of the building where it occurred.

An attorney for Patrick Hardy filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Herman Lewis. Lewis manages the Power Ultra Lounge where the July 1 shooting occurred during a performance by Ricky Hampton, a rapper who goes by the name Finese2Tymes. The lawsuit also names 6th and Center LLC, which owns the building where the shooting occurred.

This is press release from Jonesboro Attorney Bobby McDaniel: 

A judge in northeast Arkansas has awarded $150 million in a civil lawsuit to the families of five people who were fatally shot outside an Arkansas school in 1998.

The families' attorney, Bobby McDaniel, says they probably won't ever see the money, but hopes the Monday ruling will prevent Andrew Golden and Mitchell Johnson from profiting from the shooting.

Golden and Johnson set off a fire alarm at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro and shot at people as they evacuated the school.

Daisy Outdoor Products / Daisy Outdoor Products

Young marksmen from across the country will gather in Arkansas this weekend to compete for the title of National BB Gun Champion.

The Daisy National BB Gun Championship Match is expected to draw competitors from 17 states to Rogers– where the company is headquartered. Lawrence Taylor, spokesman for Daisy Outdoor Products, says BB guns are a safe way to introduce young children to guns.

UAMS campus carry guns
Daniel Breen / KUAR News

Ahead of a new law taking effect in September that expands places where people can carry firearms, schools that want to prohibit concealed handguns are working with state police to get exemptions.

Institutions seeking to ban concealed weapons from certain areas and events must send a security plan to be approved by Arkansas State Police.

The plan calls for schools to have enhanced security measures in place should they choose to opt out of the bill. One institution seeking to restrict concealed carry is the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock.

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