Buying Guns and Ammo in Arkansas

This piece aims to explain the basics of ammunition and firearms laws in the state of Arkansas. We start off with the rules for buying ammunition in the state and the general process for having ammo shipped to a residential address in Arkansas. After that, we give the same treatment to firearms laws in terms of overall rules for purchasing, before discussing the carrying of firearms in the state and leaving off with some resources that we hope you find helpful.

This piece is not intended to be legal advice. We do hope, however, that you find it useful to get an understanding of the foundational laws and rules for buying, owning, and carrying firearms and ammunition in Arkansas.

Arkansas is one of the states that have state-wide preemption. This means that localities such as cities and counties are forbidden from making firearms laws that are more strict than those at the state level. For the average gun buyer, this is handy because once you understand one set of gun laws, those laws apply uniformly across the entire state.

The ammunition and firearms laws in Arkansas are generally on the more permissive side, though there are some instances where the state’s laws err on the more restrictive side.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Arkansas

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

Arkansas has among the most permissive ammunition laws in the country. Aside from federal regulations on the buying and selling of ammo, the state does not impose additional rules. Thus, focusing on the federal end of the process will give the best understanding of how to get ammunition shipped to a residential address in Arkansas.

The ATF has two sets of restrictions for buying ammunition.The first is age: people have to be eighteen years old to purchase rifle ammo or shotgun shells, and twenty-one to purchase pistol ammo. Additionally, prohibited persons are forbidden from buying either firearms or ammunition. Generally, prohibited persons include those convicted of felonies or domestic violence, those found mentally unfit by a court, or people who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

Aside from those federal restrictions, Arkansas does not place additional rules at the state level. Thus, as long as the buyer is old enough and not a prohibited person, it is legal to shop for ammunition online and have it shipped to a residential address in the state. With that in mind, some carriers will institute their own rules, such as asking for an adult with a valid ID to be present to sign for the package that contains ammunition.

Arkansas does not impose restrictions on magazines, so once the buyer receives the ammo, the state does not take issue with that ammunition being loaded into high-capacity magazines.

Arkansas’ ammunition laws are among the most lax in the nation, considering that the state does not impose additional rules beyond those at the Federal level. This makes buying and shipping ammunition in the state fairly straightforward.

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Arkansas 

Next, we will do the same analysis for gun laws. 

Generally, Arkansas is fairly permissive in terms of its firearms laws. There are no magazine bans, nor assault weapons bans at the state level. There is, however, one thing that makes the state a little more restrictive: Arkansas requires the owners of machine guns to register them with the state. While this applies to relatively few people given the rarity and immense cost of machine guns in the United States, the requirement for registration at the state level in addition to the federal registry does make Arkansas a little more restrictive in terms of firearms rights.

Aside from the machine gun registration requirement, the firearm buying process in Arkansas is straightforward, following mostly federal guidelines. A buyer should bring their ID and form of payment to gun stores in Arkansas, as a Form 4473 must be filled out with every firearm purchase in the state. Assuming the background check that accompanies that form goes well, the state does not impose any additional waiting periods on gun purchases, and buyers can go home with the firearm the same day. The state does not require private sellers of firearms to do a background check on potential buyers, but it is always prudent to be reasonably certain that the buyer is not a prohibited person.

In terms of carrying firearms, Arkansas is one of, if not the, most permissive in the country. The state allows for permitless open and concealed carry. In addition to this, the state has recently established a legal process to get folks who have undergone non-consensual commitment for mental health treatment to have their firearms rights restored. This makes Arkansas’ current carry statutes extremely permissive, with a focus on individual rights.

Following the lead of most other states that allow for permitless carry, Arkansas still issues concealed permits on a shall-issue basis. The main benefit of doing so, considering permitless carry within the state, is carrying out of state: the Arkansas concealed carry permit has fairly wide reciprocity with other states. Basically, Arkansas does not require a permit, but for Arkansas residents, the easiest way to be able to carry in neighboring states will be to seek a concealed carry permit from the state of Arkansas.

Every state has a list of places where it is prohibited to carry a firearm. In Arkansas, that list includes:

  • Law enforcement facilities

  • Correctional facilities 

  • Public parking lots (if the gun is left in the car)

  • Division of Youth services facilities

  • Courthouses

  • The State Legislature

  • Athletic events

  • Bars

  • K-12 schools

  • Colleges 

  • Churches 

  • Mental health facilities

This is a fairly common list, and, again, every state has a similar one. These prohibitions alone do not make Arkansas any more or less strict than other states.

Overall, Arkansas is fairly permissive when it comes to firearms laws. When it comes to buying, the process is mostly guided by federal law with the exception of a requirement to register machine guns at the state level. The carry laws are similarly permissive, and the pathway for the restoration of gun rights for folks who have undergone mental health treatment makes Arkansas permissive in terms of its laws. The ammunition laws are similarly permissive, making the state a gun-friendly one.

Arkansas’ permissive environment for firearms is reflected in the increasing presence of SIG in the state: the American offshoot of the European Sig Sauer has opened a large ammunition manufacturing facility in the state.

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Arkansas

The overall sales tax in Arkansas is 6.5%, which is a middle-of-the-pack tax rate. With that in mind, some cities and counties impose additional taxes, making the top tax rate in the state 12.625%, which is one of the highest effective tax rates in the nation. 

Arkansas does not add additional taxes for firearms and ammunition on top of the sales taxes already imposed. Because of the fairly large differential in sales taxes between localities, finding out the specific sales taxes for individual gun stores might make a fair bit of difference in the purchase price of a firearm.

More Resources

Although it is not a specific firearms forum, has both state-specific hunting information, as well as an active firearms section that will be useful to gun enthusiasts in the state.

Arkansas Gun Law FAQ:

Thanks to federal regulations, people have to be eighteen years old to buy rifle and shotgun ammunition and twenty-one to buy handgun ammo.

Yes. Both open and concealed carry are legal in Arkansas without a permit. The state does offer permits, though, for people who want to be able to carry firearms in other parts of the country as well.

Arkansas law does not forbid the shipment of ammunition to residential addresses within the state. As long as the buyer meets the legal requirements to buy the ammo, the state is fine with it. But, the shipper might ask for an adult with a valid ID to be present to sign for the delivery.

Arkansas does not demand a registry for the vast majority of firearms in the state. The only exception to this is machine guns, which Arkansas does require owners to register.

No. Arkansas has recently become a permitless carry state. However, the state does still issue permits that are somewhat widely reciprocated by neighboring states.