In Arkansas, you must obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun. You must carry the license, along with valid identification, whenever you are in possession of the gun. Upon request of a law enforcement officer, you must show both your license and identification. (Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-315.)
Even if you have a concealed handgun license, there are some places and situations where you are not allowed to carry a gun.
To learn more about the restrictions on carrying firearms in Arkansas, see Open and Concealed Gun Carry Laws in Arkansas.
Read on to learn the details of Arkansas’s handgun permit process.
Who Can Obtain a Gun Permit in Arkansas
The Arkansas State Police (ASP) must give you a license to carry a concealed handgun if you meet all of the following requirements:
- you are a United States citizen
- you have been a resident of the state of Arkansas continuously for at least 90 days (unless you are retired law enforcement officer or on active military duty)
- you are at least 21 years old
- you do not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun, you have not threatened or attempted suicide, you have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent, and you have not been committed to a mental institution or mental health treatment facility
- you have not been convicted of a felony (unless you were pardoned and your rights to possess a firearm were restored or your conviction was sealed or expunged)
- you are not subject to any law that forbids you from receiving, possessing, or transporting any firearm
- your background has been successfully checked by the ASP and the FBI
- you do not chronically or habitually abuse alcohol or a controlled substance to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired
- you desire a legal means to carry a concealed handgun to defend yourself
- you are not a fugitive from justice and there is no active warrant for your arrest
- you have satisfactorily completed an approved training course, and
- you sign a statement of allegiance to the United States Constitution and the Arkansas Constitution.
(Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-309.)
The ASP may deny a license if, within the five years prior to applying, you were found guilty of a crime of violence constituting a misdemeanor or for illegally carrying a weapon, unless your conviction was expunged or your sentence was suspended.
The ASP may also deny your application if the county sheriff or chief of police submits an affidavit that you have been or are likely to be a danger to yourself or others, as demonstrated by your past behavior; or if you are under a criminal investigation at the time you apply for the license.
(Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-308.)
Gun Permit Exemptions
In Arkansas, you are not required to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun if you are a certified law enforcement officer, chief of police, or sheriff, as long as you are otherwise authorized to carry a concealed handgun. (Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-304.)
How to Obtain a Gun Permit in Arkansas
To obtain a permit, you must:
- complete an application
- supply a full set of fingerprints
- sign a waiver authorizing the ASP to view your medical, criminal, or other relevant records
- supply a digital photograph or sign a release so that the ASP may obtain your photo from another source, and
- pay a licensing fee.
(Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-311.)
The current fee for a new license, including the cost of a background check, is about $150.
After you complete your application and pay the necessary fees, you must complete a required training course for a concealed handgun license.
You can apply online for a concealed handgun permit and find a list of certified training instructors by visiting the website of the Arkansas State Police.
When to Renew Your Arkansas Gun Permit
In Arkansas, a concealed handgun permit is valid for five years. (Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-3o2.)
You may renew your permit no more than 90 days before it expires. You must renew it within six months of the expiration date, or it will be considered permanently invalid and you will have to submit a new application and pay a full application fee.
To renew your permit, you must:
- complete a renewal form
- sign a statement that you are still qualified to possess a concealed handgun
- supply a new digital photograph or sign a release so that the ASP may obtain your photo from another source, and
- pay a renewal fee. (If your renewal application is late, a late fee will apply.)
You will also be required to take another handgun training course and pass another background check.
(Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-313.)
The current cost to renew a gun permit, including the background check fee, is about $65.
You can apply online to renew your concealed handgun permit by visiting the website of the Arkansas State Police.
States in Which Your Arkansas Gun Permit Is Valid
You can find a list of the states that recognize Arkansas concealed handgun permits by visiting the Arkansas State Police website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and use the dropdown menu to see whether a particular state is on the list.
The ASP recommends that, before traveling to another state, you contact that state directly to confirm that you can use your Arkansas permit to carry a concealed weapon in the state.
When Your Gun Permit Can Be Suspended or Revoked
Your handgun license will be revoked if you become ineligible for a license under any of the rules set out above. A law enforcement officer who arrests you for an offense that requires revocation of your license must confiscate it and send it to the ASP. Your permit will be held until a final determination of your charge is made, when it will be either permanently revoked or returned to you.
In addition, the ASP will revoke your license if you plead guilty or nolo contendere to, or are found guilty of, an alcohol-related offense committed while carrying a handgun.
(Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-312.)
Penalties for Illegally Possessing a Handgun
If you submit false information on or with your handgun license application, you are guilty of of a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. (Arkansas Statutes § 5-73-305.) Other gun law violations in Arkansas could constitute anything from a misdemeanor to a serious felony offense. You can learn the specifics by carefully reading Chapter 73 of the Arkansas Statutes.
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Arkansas, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit or carry violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.