UPDATE: Open carry bill fails before Ark. House panel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A watered-down proposal to allow the open carry of handguns in Arkansas has failed to clear a House panel.

The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday voted 9-10 against the measure, which was amended to allow open carry only in unincorporated areas instead of the entire state. It also would protect concealed carry permit-holders who inadvertently display their weapons.

Republican Rep. Sue Scott of Rogers, the bill's sponsor, said she made the changes to attract more support. Rogers said she would make additional technical changes to the bill to address concerns raised by lawmakers.

Arkansas State Police Director Stan Witt said Tuesday he was concerned allowing open carry would threaten officer safety.

Republican House Speaker Davy Carter and Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe have said they're opposed to allowing open carry.

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