Lawyer course

Banned from pursuing legal action against city, lawyer again tries to bring gun to city hall

Minutes after a Pulaski County circuit judge ruled on Thursday that attorney Chris Corbitt had dropped his lawsuit, possibly involuntarily, against the city of Little Rock, Corbitt reenacted his meeting with authorities that led in litigation trying to take a gun in city hall.

Conway’s Corbitt was refused entry on Thursday, despite having a concealed carry license which he says gives him the right to take the gun with him. This is the same thing that happened in August 2021 when Corbitt first attempted to test a new concealed carry law.

Two things have changed since this complaint was filed. One thing was that City Attorney Tom Carpenter said in court Thursday that while the city can ban firearms on municipal property, it cannot enforce that ban with criminal charges, such as trespassing.

Carpenter and Corbitt, represented by law school professor Robert Steinbuch, appeared before Circuit Judge Chip Welch to decide whether Corbitt’s lawsuit against the city could proceed.

The second thing that’s different is that Corbitt’s original trial was declared dead by the judge on Thursday. Welch said the litigation could not proceed because Corbitt and Steinbuch ended the lawsuit when they elected to take the case to the Arkansas Supreme Court after Welch found insufficient grounds to take steps. immediate action against the city.

In Corbitt’s appeal, the High Court in June declined on procedural grounds to review Welch’s findings. On Thursday, the judge said the terms of Corbitt’s appeal to the Supreme Court meant the attorney had effectively dismissed his own lawsuit “with prejudice,” meaning Corbitt can’t use his original grievances against the city. in a new pursuit.

“I didn’t write your notice of appeal,” Welch said, citing a provision in Rule 3 of the Civil Appeal Rules.

“When you say you ‘relinquish all other claims’ [in order to appeal] and the rules say it’s dismissal with prejudice, I don’t see what I have jurisdiction over.”

For Steinbuch and Corbitt, that meant returning to City Hall with his gun to generate grounds for a new lawsuit, which they filed Thursday.

Corbitt’s original lawsuit was filed the day after a security guard refused to let him into City Hall with his gun. Barring him from the building was a violation of his rights established under a new law he said allowed enhanced concealed carry permits like him to carry firearms in municipal buildings.

In the lawsuit, he complained that Little Rock is “driven by a left-wing political agenda” and “believes he is above the law.”

Law 1024 had entered into force a few days earlier. Adopted by the General Assembly in April 2021, the law aimed to open municipal buildings, with some exemptions, to holders of an improved transport license.

In Welch’s decision against the lawsuit in September 2021, he found that the law was not written enough for him to decide that immediate action was needed to force the city to comply.

Corbitt has since filed three other lawsuits against Pulaski County authorities where he was denied entry to the Pulaski County District Courthouse, the Pulaski County Courthouse, and a shooting range. and Fish.

Arkansas has two levels of concealed carry licenses, based on training and live-fire testing, with enhanced licensees allowed to carry a concealed firearm in more locations, including grounds and building of the State Capitol, General Assembly meetings, state offices, churches and the public universities.