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Practice of the Saline County Sheriff’s Office Regarding Open Carrying of a Firearm

Due to the recent statement and opinion by Attorney General (AG) Leslie Rutledge, the Saline County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) has received several inquiries regarding Act 746. 

In June 2015, AG Rutledge’s prepared statement regarding open carry was as follows:

“I interpret it to mean an individual may carry so long as he or she does so without the intent to unlawfully employ it against another person.  But anytime law enforcement and citizens disagree on a law we  need to ensure there is clarity to protect citizens.  I am committed to working with the General Assembly to clarify any confusion surrounding Act 746 and its intent.”

On August 28, 2015, AG Rutledge wrote in her opinion:

While I do not encourage "open carry," it is my opinion that if a person does not have the intent to "attempt to unlawfully employ a handgun ... as a weapon against [another]," he or she may "possess a handgun ... on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use" without violating§ 5-73-120(a) as amended by Act 746.3 That means in general merely possessing a handgun on your person or in your vehicle does not violate § 5-73-l 20(a) and may be done if it does not violate other laws or regulations.

Sheriff Rodney Wright’s position is as follows: 

Unless dispatched to a complaint of an individual openly carrying a firearm or a deputy develops reasonable suspicion to believe a person’s intent is to commit a crime, Saline County Sheriff’s Office personnel will adhere to the AG opinion that a crime has not occurred and therefore the person in question will not be confronted. 

Sheriff Wright does not encourage open carry of a firearm, but does encourage all citizens to act responsibly if they choose to open carry.   

For informational purposes, a copy of Attorney General Rutledge’s opinion is attached.