Arkansas Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: May 21, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  

With every state having different gun laws, figuring out the rules on carrying your handgun, especially carrying concealed, can get a little tricky.

As a relatively gun-friendly state, it turns out there are only a few things you need to be aware of when applying for a CCW permit in Arkansas. We’ll go over all you need to know on how to get your very own CCW permit, and more importantly, what laws to be careful of once you’ve got it!

Arkansas state flag with a handgun
Arkansas state flag with a handgun

Have gun, will carry 

While no permit is required to openly carry a handgun in the state of Arkansas, you must have a permit in order to carry concealed.

Fortunately, Arkansas is a shall-issue state.  That means as long as you meet all the requirements and complete the application, you will be issued a CCW permit!

Here’s the deal

The application can be made either online, or by mail.  Either way, you’ll have to meet some requirements.

To be able to apply for a CCW permit, you must:

  • Be 21 or older;
  • Be a US citizen;
  • Have a desire to legally carry a concealed handgun for self defense (should be a given!);
  • Sign a statement of allegiance to the US and Arkansas Constitution;
  • Be a resident of Arkansas for at least 90 days prior to the application;
  • Complete a training course approved by the Director of the Arkansas State Police.

To complete the training course, make sure it is an approved Arkansas Concealed Carry Handgun License (CHCL) course.  You can search for instructors by name, city, or county, to see the one closest to you.  

Arkansas CCW Permit
Arkansas CCW Permit

In addition to those basic requirements, there are also additional requirements regarding your background that are similar to the requirements that you must meet to own a handgun, whether or not you carry concealed.

To meet these additional requirements, you must:

  • Not have been convicted of a felony;
  • Not suffer from mental or physical condition which prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
  • Have not threatened or attempted suicide;
  • Have not been committed to a treatment facility for abuse of a controlled substance or found guilty of a crime relating to a controlled substance in the 3 years before the permit application;
  • Have not been committed as an alcoholic to a facility or not convicted of 2 or more alcoholic offenses in 3 years before the permit application;
  • Have not been found guilty of crimes of violence or for the offense of carrying a weapon in the 5 years before the permit application;
  • Have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or committed to a mental health treatment facility
  • Not be a fugitive from justice.

Basically, as long as you have a (relatively) clean record, you should be good to go!

The waiting game 

Once you’ve applied, you should receive a response within 120 days, and your permit will be good for 5 years before you need to renew.

If your application is denied, you will receive a written explanation of why you were denied, which can be appealed under the Arkansas Administrative Procedure Act.  Denials are typically due to mistakes in filling out the application form, so make sure you double check your work!

There’s more! 

As an added bonus, if you don’t want to carry your permit with you (but then you can’t show it off to your friends!), you can carry an electronic copy of the license in place of it as a picture on your phone or other portable electronic device, as long as it shows all the information the license clearly.  With your phone with you all the time anyway, you’ve got one less card to carry in your wallet or purse!

Pistol in concealed carry waist holster
Carrying concealed

Where do you think you’re going?

Just because you have a CCW permit doesn’t mean you can go everywhere with your concealed handgun.

Even with a CCW permit, you cannot bring a handgun into:

  • A police station, sheriff’s state, any law enforcement facility, or buildings and areas next to the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department;
  • A jail, prison, courthouse, or detention facility;
  • A polling place;
  • Any meeting place of the governing body of a government entity (i.e. state office, General Assembly meeting place);
  • Athletic events not related to firearms;
  • Any part of an establishment licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises;
  • Any public school, college, or university campus or event, unless for participating in an authorized firearms-related activity;
  • Inside the passenger terminal of any airport except for legally checking the firearm as baggage for transport;
  • Any church or place of worship;
  • Anywhere a parade or demonstration is taking place and you are participating in the parade or demonstration;
  • And of course, anywhere that has a sign prohibiting carrying of firearms.
No firearms or weapons sign
Follow posted signs!

There’s good news…

As long as you are somewhere where the owner knows you are armed and allows you to carry your firearms, you’re good to go!  Restaurants without signs prohibiting firearms are usually accepting of them, and really, more fun to eat at anyway.

But be careful!

If you are visiting someone’s home, you must tell the resident you are carrying concealed.  No surprises!

Reciprocity

The best part of a CCW permit is not that you can now carry concealed, but that it is also good in other states!  

It’s easier to list out where your Arkansas CCW permit is not recognized:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C. (not a state, but whatever)

But who cares?  You’ve got plenty of other states to visit!

Arkansas reciprocity map
Arkansas reciprocity map

For those out of state 

For those of you who already have CCW permits from other states, Arkansas recognizes valid permits from everywhere!  As long as you can provide your CCW permit, you can carry concealed while in Arkansas!

Carry on!

And that’s all you need to know about carrying concealed in Arkansas!  To learn about the general gun laws of the state, check out our Arkansas Gun Laws section.