Question 3 – If it is lawful for a person described in Question 1 to carry a concealed handgun in city parks, may a Parks Commission prohibit such a person to carry a concealed handgun in a city park pursuant to A.C.A. § 5-73-306(b)(1)?
It is my opinion that a municipality (or a municipal parks commission, exercising delegated power) may prohibit persons who have concealed handgun permits from carrying concealed handguns in city parks, by the posting of signs.
I base this conclusion on A.C.A. § 5-73-306(b)(1), which states:
(b)(1)(A) In addition to the places enumerated in this section, the carrying of a concealed handgun may be disallowed in any place in the discretion of the person or entity exercising control over the physical location of such place by the placing of a written notice clearly readable at a distance of not less than ten feet (10’) that the “carrying of a handgun is prohibited
” at each entrance to the location.
(B) If the location does not have a roadway entrance, there must be a written notice placed anywhere upon the premises except that there must be at least one (1) written notice posted within every three (3) acres of a location with no roadway entrance.
A.C.A. § 5-73-306(b)(1).
I note that the language of the above quoted provision, granting the controllers of property the authority to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns into the property over which they exercise control, is sufficiently broad to include any person or entity that exercises control over property – even governmental entities such as cities. Nevertheless, I recognize that it is not entirely clear that the General Assembly intended this provision to apply to non-private entities such as municipalities when it enacted the provision in 1995. Indeed, in 1995, it would not have been necessary to authorize cities to post signs to prohibit the carrying of weapons in city-controlled property, because the provisions of A.C.A. § 5-73-122 already prohibited the carrying of weapons into city-controlled property. Nevertheless, when the General Assembly enacted Act 1110 of 2003, it was not only presumed to have been aware of the broad language of A.C.A. § 5-73-306(b)(1), it also did not change that broad language. Moreover, because the General Assembly was impliedly repealing the portion of A.C.A. § 5-73-122 that had previously obviated the need to authorize cities to post prohibiting signs, it was simultaneously giving rise to such a need. Because of the nature of this series of developments in these laws, I believe that if a court were faced with the question, it would interpret A.C.A. § 5-73-306(b) to apply to cities.