Arkansas is a shall-issue, permitless carry state with concealed weapons permits being issued at the state level by the Department of Public Safety.
There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.
It is now clear that permitless open carry is legal without a permit in Arkansas for any person who is at least 18 years old and who can legally possess a firearm. As of October 17, 2018, the Arkansas Appeals Court stated in case CR-18-353 Jamie Taff v. State of Arkansas, “Under the clear language of § 5-73-120(a), the possessor of a handgun must have an unlawful intent to employ it as a weapon against a person in order to make that possession a criminal act.” The minimum age to open carry is 18 years old. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and bars.
Concealed carry is legal without a license for anyone that is over 18 who can legally possess a firearm and on “a journey beyond the county in which the person lives.” Concealed Handgun Carry Licenses (CHCL) are issued to residents at least 21 years of age or 18 years of age if a member of the U.S. Armed Forces or National Guard and require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Enhanced concealed carry permits (E-CHCL) allow for carrying in some forbidden areas such as public colleges, most public buildings, non-secure locations in airports, churches and more. Although Arkansas doesn’t issue non-resident licenses, active-duty military and their spouses may apply for an Arkansas CHCL. In terms of reciprocity, since Arkansas has permitless carry, anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.
The Castle Doctrine in Arkansas allows the use of deadly force to defend one’s self, one’s home and others on the property if he or she feels that he or she is about to be severely harmed or killed. It may also be used if the person believes a felony is about to be committed. Arkansas does not have a “stand your ground” law, and there is a duty to retreat before force can be used for self-defense.