When the Boone County Quorum Court met Tuesday night, it was asked to reconsider what is called the Bill of Rights ordinance.
The ordinance has been passed by at least one county in Arkansas. It is designed to reaffirm the rights guaranteed to citizens under the first 10 amendments of the U.S. Constitution.
Glenn Britland spoke to justices of the peace Tuesday night, saying they had earlier this year discussed the proposed ordinance, but no action was taken.
But, he said that with recent events it could be that the proposed ordinance is more important now than then.
“As an example, our governor, on about April 6th or 7th, basically tried to suspend our right to peaceably assemble,” Britland told JPs. “When he said that the state police through the Department of Health would enforce social distancing, he was suspending our right to peaceably assemble.”
Britland, who appeared before JPs wearing an empty pistol holster, said most people thought the ordinance was another second amendment bill. But he felt it was much more than that.
“So,” Britland said, “I would like to see this body reconsider the Bill of Rights ordinance and keep an eye on what’s happening in Sebastian County because they are going to be reviewing the ordinance again as well.”
He went on to say that Little Rock lawyer Mike Rainwater, who represents many county governments, has spoken out against the ordinance.
“I know that Mr. Rainwater had basically fought very hard against it with this letter that went out to all the counties and he recently had made an announcement that the Bill of Rights ordinance that is supposed to support the Constitution of our state and our nation was itself unconstitutional, which seems to be a little contradicting,” Britland said.
Boone County Judge Robert Hathaway thanked Britland for appearing, but no one on the quorum court moved to take any action.
In 2013, Britland appeared before the Harrison City Council following the passage of Arkansas Act 746 or 2013.
That law passed by the state Legislature modified the statute regarding carrying a weapon. The addition of a phrase saying that it wasn’t illegal to openly carry a firearm or have one at the ready in a vehicle wasn’t illegal if there was no intent to use it for an unlawful purpose against another person.
Open-carry activists took that phrase to mean that open carry was legal, but then-Attorney Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion that Act 746 did not allow for open carry.
In 2013, Britland asked the council for its opinion on the law. Then-city attorney Van Younes told Britland that because the law was passed by the state Legislature the city would have no opinion on the issue.
No action was taken by the council, either.
In 2015, newly-elected Attorney General Leslie Rutledge examined the law and opined that it does allow for open carry in Arkansas.