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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
Note: Arkansas (AR) sometimes refers to their concealed carry permit as a concealed handgun carry license (CHCL).
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must reside in Arkansas for at least 90 days
- Valid for 5 years, renewable by mail or in person
- Costs about $145 (+ $Safety Course)
- Age 65 or older: Costs about $94 (+ $Safety Course)
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
Grey Area: Currently, this is not clearly defined by AR state law. AR law states that carrying a handgun that is readily available for use, whether it be on your person or in your vehicle, is a Class A misdemeanor. However, they mention several exceptions to this law, most importantly:
- You can carry a weapon when upon a journey, unless said journey is through a commercial airport.
- You can open carry if you (1) have a concealed carry permit and (2) are in your vehicle.
As you can see, these 2 items seems to conflict each other. Item 1 makes it sound like open carry is completely legal, while item 2 does not. Therefore, it is recommended that you only carry concealed until AR makes further clarification on this law. More on the AR law that mentions this here.
If you have the inside scoop and can further shed light on this law, please do so in the comments section below.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Arkansas is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a CHCL in Arkansas, you can apply online or by mail. The instructions below detail the process to apply online, AR’s preferred method.
- Complete a handgun safety course conducted by an Arkansas State Police certified instructor. Find a certified instructor here.
- Complete the online application and pay the appropriate fee here. This must be completed within 6 months of the date of training. Upon paying, you’ll be given a confirmation number/order ID – write this number on your training certificate.
- Go to your local police department and get a complete set of fingerprints taken. These need to be submitted as part of your application so that a criminal background check may be conducted.
- Note: The Arkansas State Police only accepts blue applicant fingerprint cards with AR920570Z printed in the ORI field/section. Black ink must be used.
- Mail your training certificate and fingerprint cards to Arkansas State Police, CHCL Section, 1 State Police Plaza Drive. Little Rock, AR 72209.
After these steps are completed, the department processing the application is legally required to inform you in 120 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
If you meet any of the following conditions, your application is almost guaranteed to be denied:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You’ve been ordered by a court to complete an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program in the last 3 years.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
- You’ve been convicted for a crime of violence in the last 3 years.
- You are currently under criminal investigation.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a CHCL, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- School property, including colleges and universities. This includes any event held by a school.
- Note: If you receive additional training and you have an Arkansas license to carry, you may be eligible to receive an endorsement on your permit that allows you to carry on public colleges/universities.
- Any police or Sheriff’s station.
- Any Department of Arkansas State Police Station.
- Jails, prisons, or other correctional facilities.
- Any Arkansas Highway Police Division of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department facility.
- Any Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department property, including the adjacent grounds.
- Note: this doesn’t apply to a rest area or weigh station of the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. This also doesn’t apply to a publicly owned and publicly accessible parking lot if you are in your vehicle and carrying concealed or if you keep your handgun locked in your vehicle.
- Anywhere the governing body of any governmental entity is holding a meeting.
- Anywhere any General Assembly or General Assembly committee is holding a meeting.
- Anywhere any General Assembly member, officer, employee, or committee has an official office.
- Any state office.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Churches or other places of worship.
- An athletic event that isn’t related to firearms.
- Any place where a parade or demonstration requiring a permit is being held, and the licensee is a participant in the parade or demonstration.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout AR
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have an AR, or AR recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you do not possess an AR, or AR recognized concealed carry permit, you must abide by the following guidelines when transporting a handgun through (from another state into AR) and throughout (within AR) the state:
- You must be 18 years old and legally possess the firearm.
- The firearm must be unloaded and secured.
- The firearm (and ammunition) cannot be readily accessible by the driver or any passengers.
- The firearm and the ammunition cannot be stored in the glove compartment or passenger console.
- If the vehicle does not have a compartment separate from the glove compartment, the firearm and ammunition must be stored locked within a compartment/container that is securely affixed to the vehicle’s interior.
Additional Notes About AR Handgun Law
Does AR Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
No. Although the law is currently being discussed in the Arkansas House Committee.
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does AR Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does AR Recognize?
ALL. AR honors every other states’ concealed carry permits. However, you must be 21 years old or older for your permit to be honored.
Reciprocity – Where is the AR Permit Recognized?
The AR CHCL is recognized in the following states:
- September 1, 2017 – Note on carrying on public college/university grounds added to Location Restrictions for Carrying section. Some forms of carrying on public college/university grounds are legal – see note for more info.
- November 4, 2017 – (1) Process to apply clarified and updated, (2) fees to apply updated as we’re getting reports they’ve increased a few dollars.