Gov. Asa Hutchinson, in a letter sent to the Arkansas State Police and prosecutors, said this month that he believes that a much-debated 2013 state law allows for the open carry of handguns, though no officials have announced a change in policy in response to the governor’s message.
Col. Bill Bryant, the state police director who was appointed by the governor and to whom the letter was directed, issued a memo of guidance to commanders on Wednesday. It was the first time the director had directly given guidance on the matter of open carry, according to an agency spokesman.
But Bryant’s memo — which says that open carry is not probable cause for an arrest and which directs troopers to use “reasonable suspicion” when stopping a person suspected of criminal conduct — is not different from the training that cadets receive at the State Police Training Academy, said spokesman Bill Sadler.
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