Why I Signed Act 145

By Lieutenant Governor Mark A. Darr

Last Friday, while serving as Acting Governor in Governor Beebe's absence from the state, I signed Senate Bill 131 into law. It is now Act 145. The stated purpose of this law is to protect the privacy of Arkansans who have a concealed carry license, or who have applied for one. Specifically, it exempts these citizens' names and zip codes from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

I am a strong believer in our Second Amendment rights as Americans. The right to defend one's self is among the most basic granted to us by the Constitution. I am also a strong believer in individuals' right to privacy when it comes to their personal property.

Senate Bill 131 received overwhelming bipartisan support with a vote of 84 to 9 in the House and 24 to 9 in the Senate. That means that eighty percent of the state legislature voted in favor of its passage. Senator Bruce Holland and Representative Andy Davis are to be commended for sponsoring this bill.

The bill contained an emergency clause stating that it would take effect as soon as it was signed. I felt very strongly that the privacy of Arkansans personal information deserved its immediate attention. The release of such records is an invasion of privacy and threatens the safety and property of the persons identified. Many of you have communicated your support for this bill and I appreciate your making your opinions known.

Since the bill was signed, a news editor in Little Rock took it upon herself to release the list she had obtained before the new law took effect and publish 130,000 people's names and zip codes.
This is exactly the kind of thing concealed carry holders are concerned about.

The news site that posted the list of names withdrew the list and shut down comments once the editor's own personal information was posted on their website. I sincerely hope that no one whose privacy has been violated will become a victim of such a reckless action.

Our office has been contacted by people from all over Arkansas expressing their outrage about this egregious violation of personal privacy. Law-abiding citizens, who are simply trying to protect themselves and their family members, are being treated as suspects for crimes they haven't committed. People like Donna Schaefer of Carlisle, who took the time to come to the Capitol today and express how grateful she was. Donna and her 82 year old mother were two names that were released. They've done nothing to warrant suspicion or disrespect. Their story is an example of why I felt the urgent need to sign this bill into law.

I take seriously the trust the people of Arkansas have put in me as an elected official and the obligation I have under the Constitution. The citizens of this great state and the 130,000 citizens that are now protected under this law have my utmost respect.