The head Bald Knob cop trying to run open carry advocates out of town resigned Monday, citing fears for his family’s safety after his truck was torched and vandalized in front of his home last week; the phrase “2 Amendment” spray painted on both sides.
But some Arkansas residents believe Erek Balentine may have faked the incident as a way save face over his rigid stance against open carrying guns in public – a view that contradicted state law – putting the town of Bald Knob at a liability risk.
Those men were eventually released, but another man who was arrested for open carrying earlier in the year, Richard Chambless, was convicted in August, sentenced to 15 days in jail.
The state law was amended in 2013 with the following section:
SECTION 2. Arkansas Code § 5-73-120 is amended to read as follows: 30 5-73-120. Carrying a weapon. 31 (a) A person commits the offense of carrying a weapon if he or she possesses a handgun, knife, or club on or about his or her person, in a vehicle occupied by him or her, or otherwise readily available for use with a purpose to attempt to unlawfully employ the handgun, knife, or club as a weapon against a person.
Kalab White, one of the two men detained over the weekend, said he does frequent Second Amendment audits throughout the state, and Bald Knob is the only town that treats open carry as a crime.
White, who lives in Jonesboro, almost a two hour drive to Bald Knob, said his local police officers invited him for a ride-along when they came across him taking photos of the police station while wearing a gun on his hip.
Here’s what he had to say about the chief’s resignation:
I don’t believe he’s leaving for the reasons he gave. I believe he’s leaving because he’s caused so much embarrassment to that city.
I also believe Photography is Not a Crime had something to do with it. You guys taking the story and bringing it to national attention may have lead to a “forced” resignation.
Whatever the reason, Bald Knob still needs to prepare for the appeal that Chambless intends to file in order to get the law even further clarified.