A federal lawsuit has opened up a debate over whether non-US citizens who are legal permanent residents should be able to obtain concealed carry permits.
Earlier this month Federal Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued a permanent injunction that will allow a 52-year-old Dutch citizen who received his permanent resident visa in 1984 to obtain such a permit Arkansas. The man, Martin Pot, was denied a permit by the Arkansas State Police.
The Second Amendment Foundation supported Pot’s case.
“This is yet another victory in our effort to expand Second Amendment protections in the United States,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “Mr. Pot is a law-abiding resident of Eureka Springs, and has been so since 1986. He is self-employed and is a productive member of the community, with an American-born wife and family. He came here almost 30 years ago, met and married his wife, and has many solid connections in his community.”
Brooks, an Obama nominee, called the state requirement unconstitutional.
Pot previously had such a permit but once it expired could not get it renewed because Arkansas had changed its requirement to allow only US citizens to obtain them, Guns.com reported.
Under state law, he could own a gun and keep it at his home but could not carry it concealed.
“This case is not unique,” Gottlieb said. “SAF has successfully challenged other state laws, in New Mexico, Washington, Nebraska and Massachusetts. Legal resident aliens should not be penalized at the expense of their self-defense rights. This was a good outcome to a case that should help lots of people.
There has been controversy over Arkansas’ new gun law for months now. Gun rights advocates believe the new concealed carry law does indeed permit the open carry of handguns, but the state attorney general views the law’s text differently.
Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel says the new firearms law “makes technical corrections relating to handgun possession but did not remove open carry restrictions.”
The conflicting mindsets regarding the new gun control will make it difficult for both police officers and gun owners to determine if and when if it permissible to be in public with a handgun displayed openly.
Previously, Arkansas gun laws stated that “being on a journey” is a defense in firearms carrying cases, but the statute neglected to define exactly what “being on a journey” means. The new weapons law states that a journey means traveling beyond the county where the gun owner lives.
Stan Witt, director of the Arkansas State Police, said supporters of open carry are wrong in their interpretation.
“This kind of got twisted around in the media,” he told Arkansasnews.com. “It’s kind of been twisted where that’s construed as open carry: You can just strap a gun on while you’re going down the road, and you can get out and go in a [convenience store] with your gun whether you have a concealed carry permit or not. That’s not true.”
Should non-citizens have access to concealed carry permits? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.