Arkansas Republicans say they will push to expand gun owners' rights

Arkansas Republicans say they will push to expand gun owners' rights

December 28th, 2018 by Associated Press in Breaking News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Some Republican lawmakers in Arkansas say they will push to expand gun owners' rights when the Legislature reconvenes next month.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that some Democrats are pushing back with a proposed law that would allow for temporary seizure of weapons from people deemed dangerous to themselves and others.

One of the first bills to be filed ahead of the 2019 legislative session is a proclamation to make the shotgun Arkansas' official state gun. Republicans say other potential bills would expedite the process for domestic-abuse victims to get concealed-carry licenses and strengthen concealed-carry laws at the city and county level.

Many of the Democratic candidates elected to Congress in November supported increased restrictions on guns, and Democrats won back the U.S. House. But in Arkansas, Republicans still hold strong majorities in both the state House and Senate.

One Republican lawmaker, Rep. Charlie Collins, lost his Fayetteville-area seat to Democrat Denise Garner, a gun-control supporter.

Collins sponsored legislation two years ago that prompted a legislative fight over guns. The bill, known as Act 562, proposed expanding concealed-carry rights onto college campuses and into bars and other public buildings.

The legislation was opposed by Democrats and gun-control advocates, who said Republicans ignored concerns from colleges and law enforcement officials. The bill was approved but lawmakers were later pressured by college athletic associations to walk back some provisions.

Collins didn't attribute his loss to his pro-gun position.

"You benefit sometimes from the mood of the country," said Collins, who was first elected in 2010. "Sometimes the wind is blowing in the other direction."

Arkansas' 2019 legislative session starts on Jan. 14.