- Associated Press - Sunday, January 24, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A pending lawsuit in which an Arkansas man is seeking reinstatement of his permit to carry a concealed weapon may settle some confusion and even disagreement on the rights of the state’s citizens to openly carry firearms in public.

The lawsuit was filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court last July by James Tanner against the Arkansas State Police, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1PszPyk ). Tanner’s permit had been revoked in June after Tanner openly carried a weapon in a Searcy Wal-Mart.

Court records indicate a state police officer noticed Tanner was carrying a pistol openly. The officer approached Tanner and asked for his identification, but Tanner declined and walked off. He was eventually arrested and charged with obstruction of governmental operations, but he was not charged with carrying a weapon. He was convicted of the misdemeanor and fined.

State police officials revoked Tanner’s permit to carry a concealed weapon, citing several reasons, including his failure to notify the trooper that he had a weapon and for not concealing his weapon.

Tanner’s attorney, Shane Ethridge, argued that state regulations say a licensee “may” carry a concealed gun and that it is not required that he conceal his weapon. He also pointed out that Tanner was not prosecuted for carrying a weapon.

State police officials found that the lack of a charge for carrying a weapon was irrelevant and ruled that Tanner violated the rules governing conceal-and-carry permits by openly carrying his weapon.

Asked for further comment, Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said that by the conceal-and-carry laws, state police are required to develop and execute rules for licensing permit-holders.

“As the title of the legislation infers, rules were written requiring licensees to carry their handguns concealed,” Sadler wrote. “The manner in which the firearm must be carried hasn’t changed. A licensee must keep the firearm concealed.”

Tanner’s case has yet to go to trial.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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