UPDATE: Man found guilty after being arrested for open carry in Bald Knob

UPDATE (8/25):

Richard Chambless has been found guilty of illegally carrying a weapon in Bald Knob.

He has been given 1 year probation, 15 days in jail, and a $2,160 fine.


Since its passage, Act 746 has been controversial. The statute has been interpreted different ways, but Tuesday, one man will find out how a judge interprets the law.{}

On a Tuesday afternoon in May, Richard Chambless decided to walk around his hometown of Bald Knob and do some shopping. He started at McDonald's, walking under the bridge and shopping in two stores before returning to the restaurant to get a drink. It wasn't unusual behavior, except for the fact that the whole time Chambless was carrying his gun on his hip.

"As long as you don't have unlawful intent, it is not a crime to carry a handgun in self defense, and that's what I was doing. I was out shopping in town, stopped here to get a drink of water carrying my weapon and went to jail for it," said Chambless.

Police arrested him for disorderly conduct and carrying a firearm. The police chief read Chambless sections of the Arkansas Code, only to have Chambless recite back to him Act 746. The majority of the 15 minute interview was calm, but frustration clearly mounted with both sides talking over each other, sticking to their guns about open carry.{}

At one point, the police chief had enough of the back and forth yelling, "Listen to me. Shut up and let me talk. What I want you to do is, bring your evidence and come to my prosecutor and judge and let them explain to you that you broke the law. Do you understand? You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it."{}Chambless has his day in court this Tuesday, but he's not deterred. He says he continues to carry his weapon to educate people on the issue in the meantime.

"Some people are just set in their ways and aren't used to seeing guns out in public," said Chambless.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has not released an official opinion on Act 746, though she has said several times she believes open carry is legal in the state. {}The only official attorney general opinion on the act came from Dustin McDaniel who found that open carry was illegal.

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