Arkansas lawmakers privatized gun permit records for more than 130,000 gun owners, Reuters reported on Friday, February 22.
Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, a Republican, signed the bill into law.
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, was attending a National Governors Association meeting in Washington, D.C., on Friday and had previously voiced his opposition to the bill.
However, Beebe said he would not be willing to issue a veto, according to NWA Online, in spite of disagreeing with Darr’s action to sign off in his absence.
Arkansas lawmakers have admitted their action to privatize gun permit records was a response to a New York newspaper’s decision publishing a list of gun owners’ names and addresses in Westchester and Rockland counties.
Considering the Arkansas Press Association opposed the bill, supporters viewed privatizing gun permit records as a preemptive strike in the growing gun control debate.
Arkansas, home state to former Democratic President Bill Clinton, has taken a pronounced conservative turn in recent years.
A majority in the state voted for John McCain and Mitt Romney in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, respectively.
Republicans captured majorities in the House and Senate for the first time in decades last November.
And just this week, lawmakers passed a controversial heartbeat abortion bill preventing abortions after 20 weeks with exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
On the issue of gun control, do you think the public has a right to know who has applied for a gun permit, who holds a concealed carry permit, and who currently owns a firearm, or should the right to bear arms be kept private?
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